In February of 2017, Market Force fielded research about consumer experiences at UK fuel and convenience stations. Over 3,000 respondents answered a variety of questions—including what determines where they choose to purchase fuel. The answers may surprise you:

Price  Price/litre tends to be very competitive—within a few pence—so filling a tank will only save a small fraction of a pound. But it still matters, and petrol retailers will continue to pour money into real-time predictive algorithms to set pricing.

Fuel Quality  The majors like BP emphasise fuel quality. That’s a good strategy as 34% of consumers gave it a 5 for importance.

Payment Form  Consumers want a no-hassle experience at their petro-convenience station. Offering different forms of payment (credit card, cash, a mobile app) can make it easy—but the credit card reader and the app technology had better work!

Easy Entry and Exits  The choice to turn left or right, parking, and getting back out on the road all matter—so investments in traffic pattern studies will continue to be critical to site choice and capital expenditures.

Urgency  27% of consumers said they simply went to the nearest fuel station when they were low on fuel.

In sum, consumers look at price, fuel quality, easy ways to pay, ingress/egress, and nearest locations when choosing where to purchase fuel. Brands must pay particular attention to these five items to be an attractive choice in a highly competitive market.

The graph below summarises consumer ratings of importance for twenty attributes. Each was rated on a 5 point scale, where 1 = not at all important, 5 = very important.

If you’d like to learn more about our research and see the competitive benchmark results for over 30 brands, schedule a briefingAnd to see how one of our clients, Phillips 66, partners with Market Force to create great customer experience, watch the video.

Gail Funderburk serves as vertical practice lead for the grocery industry. She works with national grocery chains as well as regional providers, focusing on how to improve same store sales and capture market share in this fiercely competitive industry.