Applying Digital to Oil Retail

In mature and commoditized industries, such as oil retail, competitive intensity is high. As a result, the focus on efficiency, low operating costs, and customer satisfaction is key. With the onset of the digital revolution, the scale and pace of change in retail is increasing and fundamentally changing the future business models within the industry.

For the most part, oil retailers have been slow to adopt digital technologies and now lag behind other industries, such as consumer retail, that have been quick to leverage the value of digital in their businesses.

But leaders within the oil and gas retail sector—and more broadly in the transport sector (such as automotive OEMs)—are catching up. BCG’s Center for Digital in Oil & Gas can partner with retailers to implement digital technologies and leverage the use of big data, data platforms, and analytics optimization across value chains to create new sources of value. Here are some examples:

  • Sales, Marketing, and Pricing. Digitization of the customer journey is driving truly differentiated customer experiences and in parallel can increase the capture of valuable customer data.
  • Point of Sale: Retail Stations. The rise of digital has revamped the traditional fuel pump experience. For example, apps that enable customers to pay by phone have become the industry standard, providing a direct marketing channel to customers.
  • Supply Chain. Geospatial analytics are driving significant improvements through better route planning and optimization.
  • Business Operations. Data-driven decision making and agile ways of working across end-to-end organizations is dramatically increasing the organizational effectiveness of large companies.

In the future, powerful megatrends, shifting customer needs, and the rise of new competition from nontraditional players will continue to shape and disrupt the oil retail industry. We see several key trends that will redefine the retail business models in the medium to long term: the rise of electric vehicles, increasing connectivity, the Internet of Things, the rise of cloud computing, increasing consumer focus on convenience, and differentiated service.
The future winners in oil retail will need to look beyond the traditional business models and quickly embrace advances in digital to transform their businesses. The Center for Digital in Oil & Gas can help oil retailers embrace the pace of change quickly and capture the value of digital—for today and the future.

Using Digital to Unlock Competitive Advantage in Oil Retail

BCG worked with a global integrated-energy company to enhance its competitive advantage in the retail business by designing and launching two digital initiatives:

  • Omnichannel Strategy. This initiative improved customer experience by redesigning the customer journey to include physical and digital touchpoints and by launching a new mobile app with personalized offerings and mobile payment capabilities.
  • Personalized Offering System. This initiative leveraged advanced analytics and client data to design and industrialize a system that offers customer incentives based on historical data.