It might not always be the most fancy place on earth, but we can’t avoid stopping by a gas station on a long trip. Through time it has evolved from a quick stop to the pharmacy in the late 1880s towards an almost full-experience functional roadside attraction today. So what’s next, how could gas stations meet customer needs even more effectively. Did I just hear someone whisper MaaS?
“A pack of aspirins and a gallon of petrol, please”. Imagine there was a time that a drugstore was the place to be to fill up your car. Over time, gas stations have evolved from a one-man business with outside petrol pumps towards fully-equipped roofed self-service stations for all types of vehicles.
From car filling to filling customer’s convenience
Nowadays many filling stations have integrated convenience stores. With long opening hours, easy parking space and free WiFi, they have become the ideal place to sell a wide range of products. From coffee to-go, to a week’s groceries, a sit-down meal or even a haircut. Why? Not only because driving and shopping habits have changed, but also because non-fuel products are more profitable.
But filling stations are also transforming in other ways. E-commerce companies for instance, together with logistics providers, are gradually working their way through the pumps. Customers can not only easily pick-up online purchases at filling stations, but also pass by to send packages themselves.
MaaS is coming your way
Looks like tomorrow’s filling stations will be playing a wide variety of roles. And we haven’t mentioned electric charging yet… Overall, however people need more convenience than they need charging. Filling stations are becoming service centers with a bakery, carwash, repair shop, etc. In this context, MaaS offers an opportunity by instigating the virtual expansion of these physical service hubs. You could navigate, facilitate and guide users back to your service station through a tailor-made mobility app.
Imagine a businessman that wants to recharge his electric vehicle… You could just provide electric charging points, but you could also guide him to an on- or off-street parking spot, near his next meeting. Or suggest a small detour for a healthy sandwich on-the-go. The possibilities are endless.