Making the Digital Push: An Oil Company's Integrated Turnaround

A large integrated oil company was grappling with declining fuel volumes and deteriorating margins at its 4,000 service stations in Europe and Latin America. The weakening results made it critical that the company reinvent its fuel retail and convenience store business—and fast.

BCG helped the company leverage digital technology to deepen its connection with customers, including by identifying unmet needs and pain points and developing personalized offers. At the same time, we worked with the company to harness data analytics to transform the convenience store operation.

The digital drive required the development of an omnichannel strategy that allowed the company to connect with customers in the store, by mobile phone, or through their home computer. A key element was rethinking the company’s customer loyalty program, which had significant limitations—including a lack of data on customer habits and preferences.

A Personalized Approach

BCG helped the company develop a mobile app that, among other things, addressed some of the problems they encountered at the service station. Research showed, for example, that customers found it took too long to pay after fueling. The app allowed customers to pay for fuel at the pump and offered other features, as well, including easy in-store payment options and personalized coupons at the point of sale.

BCG also helped the company improve the customer experience at every touchpoint, such as a process of joining the rewards program, the experience in the store, and the available service through the company’s call centers. We also developed a roadmap for integrating the company’s existing systems into the new mobile tool. And over time, we helped the company expand the app and loyalty program to include other retail outlets, enhancing the value of the offering for customers.

A key element of the app was the system for making personalized offers to customers based on their past purchases and behavior. We helped develop a sophisticated customer segmentation approach to gain better insight into customer preferences, as well as algorithms for matching the right offering to the right consumer. We also developed the process for managing and cleaning up all the data used in the development of personalized offering and created a model for tracking the impact of the effort. Ultimately the company was able to develop tailored incentives for more than 2.5 million customers.

BCG also guided the company as it made moves to enhance its convenience stores. This included developing a centralized decision-making process and providing analytics to improve the assortment of products in the store, pricing, and logistics.

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