As advanced electric self-driving technologies transform the motor industry, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) is at the frontier of fuel retail innovation. With a plethora of efficient digitized ride-hailing or sharing platforms growing globally, both public and private transportation are more convenient than ever. BCG predicts that by 2030, the shared mobility market will be worth $300 billion, before accounting for a projected 20% of total passenger miles by 2035. The major shift in consumer perception that’s driving MaaS is the transition from costly vehicle ownership to efficient and agile shared mobility. This phenomenon is the future of fuel retail in an era where reducing our carbon footprint through sustainable, alternate fuel consumption is critical. Younger populations are quickly opting for electric or alternate fuel-led MaaS as a result of digitized ride selection and payment enablement. As a result, MaaS is integrating itself rapidly within fuel retail in the pandemic’s aftermath.

With nearly two-thirds of the world’s population preparing to live in cities in less than a decade, consumers will economize their fuel expenditure and opt for shared mobility. 

The greatest enabler for fuel retailers in this regard is digital transformation. They will integrate their services within the larger MaaS ecosystem through streamlined planning and operational excellence. Let’s look at a few leading examples.

Leading European Urban MaaS Models and how they get it right

Globally, while Uber and Lyft pioneered to set MaaS into motion, Finland and Norway made major strides in terms of disrupting traditional mobility services through apps like Whim in Helsinki and the public transportation authority (PTA) Kolumbus in Stavanger respectively. Through the advent of smart mobility systems, these nations operationalized not just ride-hailing or sharing but flexible modes of transportation as well. Whether cycle, train, bus, taxi, car, or bike share, both private as well as public commute options are now at the customers’ disposal. All they have to do is make a selection of pick up and drop locations, timings and mode of payment, before the smart mobility system fulfils the order in a fast and efficient manner.

The principle is to meet varied mobility and transport needs with maximum choice, convenience and flexibility.

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The end-to-end trip planning, booking and execution on Whim, for instance, is so seamless that customers are more than satisfied. They are happy to leave their cars behind and will probably avoid the investment and maintenance costs of private vehicles altogether in time. The electronic ticketing and payment services also take into account the fuel requirements and enable real-time mapping of consumption versus expenditure. This provides a win-win situation to both the MaaS app as well as the fuel retailer through predictive estimates that determine pricing. Unique identity tokens are provided to customers for full security of their transactions, and there’s a robust loyalty engine that facilitates rewards to ensure repeat purchases by driving value and thereby retention.

Across Europe, this peer-to-peer MaaS model is being further advanced. Paris, Eindhoven, Barcelona and Vienna have all pivoted their shared-mobility offerings towards establishing strong omnichannel networks that facilitate better customer experiences.

The Great MaaS Integration within Forecourts 

To facilitate a strong CRM and a user-centric mass mobility paradigm, fuel retailers are also jumping onto the bandwagon. Their integration within the ecosystem ensures that forecourts serve as one-stop destinations for varied MaaS-related services. The idea is to equip apps like Whim with smoother operations so that the customer journey is optimized for faster refills. Alongside making fuel an app offering, a host of loyalty benefits – ‘Purchase Up & Go’, targeted bundle offers, promoting private label products (C-store), etc –are activated in tandem. This determines the future of fuel retail as more personalized, rewarding and tailor-made as per changing customer MaaS preferences.

MaaS is Propelled Forward by AVs Transforming Fuel Retailers 

Lastly, the rise of autonomous vehicles or AVs is significantly advancing MaaS. Both new age players like Uber as well as traditional OEMs like Toyota are partakers in revisioning the MaaS market through major self-driving innovations. The larger proportion of these autonomous shared vehicles will be electric and thereby enable more cost-efficient means of transportation.

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This means that fuel retailers will have to quickly adapt by transforming fuel stations into recharging facilities for electric vehicles. And a host of personalized loyalty programs will improve the customer journey to ensure that the integration of MaaS with AVs is seamless. 

With the growth of this trend, more dedicated AV parking and recharging facilities will have to be optimized from an operations standpoint. The outcome will be advantageous to both fuel retailers, AVs and customers with an overall reduction in cost, time as well as traffic at service stations. Convenience will, thus, become the new norm in the world of fuel retail that adapts to shared mobility services in the near future. Retailers will also have to focus on customizing their services as per the unique needs of MaaS customers. Leveraging e-commerce and the right tech stack can enable an omnichannel presence that keeps evolving with agility. On-demand products like food and beverages that accompany longer commutes can be majorly leveraged alongside fuel.

By effectively transforming their existing asset networks and marketing capabilities, fuel retailers will ultimately have to push for such new value pools to maximize profit through the MaaS model. For future survival and growth, they will have to also launch new products that innovatively advance the integration of AVs within the ecosystem and, ultimately, venture on the path of fuel-retail loyalty to build brand advocacy. Smart city logistics hub will play an instrumental role here, in terms of mapping out the unique needs of customers as per varied city locations and routes. An array of convenience store offerings, moreover, will help establish a smoother ride-sharing experience that will ensure business growth through multiple avenues. The future of fuel retail is, thus, electric, automated and mobile beyond all previous regulations. To know more about the fuel retail industry and the dynamics of fuel retail loyalty in future, connect with our team of experts here.

Anupama Basu
Passionate about evolving marketing technologies, Anupama is a seasoned professional by day and writer by night. She has worked for the world's leading brands in the advertising and marketing industry for a while now, and won recognition for her projects. She hopes to deepen her sense of purpose by always offering the most relevant insights to her readers.