Advancements made within the card payment technology space have allowed for more seamless card transactions, which in turn has driven the successful expansion of the forecourt convenience retail sector.
Since the beginning of time, humans have offered payments for goods and the means by which these payments were made has changed dramatically over the years. From bartering goods, to using grain as currency and then from metal coins to paper money, and now cashless payments.
These advancements have enabled the forecourt retail sector to offer customers exactly what makes the sector an attractive place to shop in the first place – convenience by way of proximity, speed and efficiency – resulting in the advent of the fuel forecourt as the new convenience stores.
Card acceptance progression
Initially, payment at the fuel forecourt was limited to cash and fleet cards; the latter was only printed with the name of the company, vehicle registration and signature. Fleet cards eventually began to use magnetic strips that were more secure through PIN codes and eventually chip cards.
To increase accessibility and convenience, credit card payments were then also accepted at the forecourt and, thereafter, debit cards.
The movement of established conventional retailers such as Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay to the forecourt also had a positive impact on the number of cards swiped, which also drove connectivity.
The systems used for card payments have also progressed over the years, shifting from the use of 2G to 3G networks and LTE devices. As the volumes of card transactions increased, so did the speed of payment processes and the development of card payment devices.
With the need to address safety concerns came the need to bring card payment machines to vehicles, and thus payment devices changed from a desktop to a mobile solution through the use of the SIM card.
The utilisation of SIM cards has currently been replaced by wireless WiFi technology, which
Communication and reducing downtime
The uptime of cashless payment systems has become critical to forecourt retail, because of this, there has been a shift towards providing that redundancies are put in place in order to monitor and ensure the uptime of systems.
The reason that forecourt retail holds much of its appeal is due to the true convenience it offers customers. Without active and connected payment terminals, a large part of this convenience is eliminated, requiring those who wished to pay for goods by card to draw cash.
In order to ensure that this does not happen, card payment systems will need to make use of both fixed line infrastructure as well as
Communication is another critical factor for the sector, which requires connectivity to gather and convey important information, such as stock currently in the store, vouchers, prepaid airtime and data or the lotto.
In order to make sure that there is no lag or downtime of communication, payment systems are moving to incorporate a converged software-defined wide-area network, or SD-WAN, which connects networks over large geographic distances through the internet or a cloud-native private network.
The future of forecourt retail will be all about connected digitisation, in order to cater to a growing digital customer base. This will lead to new ways of engaging customers, using technology to attract drivers to stop at the forecourt when they’re just driving past, using WiFi to advertise specials to customers filling up at petrol stations and placing orders with other retailers for pick-up at the forecourt.
And, last year, multinational oil and gas company BP admitted that half of the customers at its forecourts don’t even buy petrol.
All of these new means of operations by the sector will rely on payment connectivity solutions to make sure that customers receive an “on-the-go” experience, which is what they’re there for.
And, the more that card payment technology and secure payment connectivity improves, the more attractive factors such as speed and convenience improve, resulting in the progressive growth of the forecourt convenience retail sector itself.
Car buyers to start abandoning fuel-power by 2025
Car buyers in the United States and Europe expect electric vehicles to become a viable alternative to fuel-powered cars in the next five years.
A new report outlining consumer expectations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their viability as replacements for traditional fuel-powered cars or internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles suggests a massive shift beginning in 2025.
The conclusion emerges from a report by human behaviour and analytics firm Escalent, entitled The Future of BEV: How to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Consumers. It reveals the intent of many consumers in the United States and Europe to abandon ICE vehicles altogether, citing the improved infrastructure and range of BEVs.
The Future of BEV gives auto and mobility manufacturers a strategic view of the benefits of their products in the eyes of consumers and highlights the areas of opportunity for automakers to push the innovation boundaries of BEVs to spur broad adoption of the technology.
“While most buyers don’t plan to choose BEVs over gasoline-powered cars within the next five years, consumers have told us there is a clear intention to take BEVs seriously in the five years that follow,” says Mark Carpenter, joint managing director of Escalent’s UK office. “However, manufacturers will need to tap into the emotional value of BEVs rather than just the rational and functional aspects to seize on that intent and inspire broader consumer adoption.”
The study demonstrates a significant shift in consumers’ expectations that BEVs will become viable alternatives to—and competitors with—ICE vehicles over the coming decade. Though 70% of Americans plan to buy a gasoline-powered car within the next year, just 37% expect to make that same purchase in five to ten years. Similarly, while 50% of European consumers favour buying vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel in the near-term, that figure drops to just 23% in five to ten years.
At the same time, consumers on both sides of the Atlantic see BEV adoption rising to 36% in Europe and 16% in the US, with respondents also indicating intent to purchase hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars.
Infrastructure clearly continues to be one of the biggest barriers to adoption. While some work is being done in Europe as well as in the US, the data show there is a significant need for some players to take ownership if manufacturers want to move the needle on BEV adoption.
US and European consumers have stark differences in opinion as to which entities they believe are primarily responsible for providing BEV charging stations. American consumers consider carmakers (45%) the primary party responsible, followed by fuel companies, local government/transport authorities, and the national government in fourth. On the other hand, European consumers view the national government (29%) as the primary party responsible for providing BEV infrastructure, followed by carmakers, local government/transport authorities and fuel companies.
For a full copy of the report, visit https://landing.escalent.co/download-the-future-of-bev.
New cell phone to help with dementia and memory loss
A new cell phone that takes simplicity to the extreme is designed to address the unique needs of people with dementia and other forms of memory loss. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone, developed by RAZ Mobility, a provider of mobile assistive technology, was launched this week. The handset is also well-suited for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia, with one in ten people over the age of 65 diagnosed with the disease. The number of people with dementia is expected to increase rapidly as the proportion of the population 65 and older increases. The American Psychiatric Association reports that approximately one percent of the population has an intellectual disability.
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone consists of one primary screen, and one screen only. It is always on and includes pictures and names of up to six contacts and a button to call 911. That’s it! There are no applications or settings to cause confusion. No notifications or operating system updates. No distractions. Users can simply tap and hold the picture of the person they wish to call.
Caregivers manage the RAZ Memory Cell Phone through a simple online portal. The portal is used to create and edit the contacts, track the location of the phone/user and select certain options, such as the option to restrict incoming calls to people in the user’s contacts, thereby avoiding unwanted calls such as predatory robocalls.
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone can now be ordered at https://www.razmobility.com/solutions/memory-cellphone/.