Consumers Expect Technology-Driven Experience on the Forecourt

Dover Fueling Solutions' first-ever Future of Fueling Report finds that consumers will look for touchless and automatic self-services.
The forecourt at a convenience store

AUSTIN, Texas — Consumers are prioritizing payment security and a technology-driven experience in the future, according to Dover Fueling Solutions' (DFS) first-ever Future of Fueling Report.

The report explores current U.S. consumer trends, where the industry is headed, and how fueling and convenience store owners can future-proof their businesses amid fluctuating fuel prices, increasing demand for electric vehicles and a COVID-driven technological revolution at fuel sites.

"In the Future of Fueling Report, we set out to better understand end user preferences to prepare the fueling and convenience retail industry," said Kendra Keller, vice president and general manager, North America at Dover Fueling Solutions. "We believe the findings in this report provide direction and actionable proactive steps c-store owners can take now to begin delivering on consumer expectations for the fueling experience of the future."

The Future of Fueling Report findings reveal key themes that are shaping the industry:

Future-state fueling

Consumers envision future gas stations to model the retro, animated series "The Jetsons," according to anecdotal report data, including touchless and automatic self-services. DFS believes that these futuristic concepts could come to life via dedicated fueling lanes that offer fully contactless, digital-first experiences.

Security & price transparency at the pumps

Amid increasing instances of skimming schemes, economic instability and fluctuating gas prices, a significant number of respondents cited payment security and price transparency as top concerns. Many forecourts have features and security solutions in place to mitigate such risks before they impact consumers. DFS recommends convenience stores focus on educating consumers about these features and solutions to help assuage concerns.

Electric vehicle (EV) charging

The majority of Generation Z and millennials would be more likely to consider purchasing an EV if more gas stations offered EV charging. But there are generational and location-based discrepancies inhibiting uptake, indicating that c-store owners should consider their local market and customer base before installing.

An evolved c-store

When asked what amenities would be most valuable in an EV-dominant future, respondents selected coffee shops/cafes (39 percent), followed by sit-down restaurants (29 percent) and business centers or places to work (11 percent). These findings indicate that c-stores may need to provide more immersive experiences to keep customers engaged while charging EVs for longer periods of time, according to DFS.

"Fueling and convenience retailers that take proactive steps to understand consumer preferences and prepare for both the near-term and longer-term future will set their business apart," said Scott Negley, senior director, product management at Dover Fueling Solutions. "Integrating immersive and digital-first experiences among increasing EV adoption while factoring in generational preferences will be key for the future. Educating consumers on security measures and ensuring price transparency at the pumps is key in the near term."

DFS surveyed 1,000 consumers in July 2022 for the Future of Fueling Report. The full report is available here.

Austin-based Dover Fueling Solutions, a part of Dover Corp., comprises the product brands of Wayne Fueling Systems, OPW Fuel Management Systems, ClearView, Tokheim, ProGauge, Fairbanks, LIQAL and AvaLAN.