The retail fuel industry is at the intersection of many “disruptive” technologies that, through their innovation, have the potential to displace similar technologies currently being used and “disrupt” the current status quo. Source will be monitoring these technologies as they continue to evolve.
The Disruptor: Mobile Payment Technology
Potential impact: The mobile payment innovations that continue to permeate the market have the potential to revolutionize commerce as we know it. From a consumer perspective, mobile payment platforms — on smartphones and in cars — promise to digitize wallets and provide faster, more convenient transactions. For C-store and gas station operators, it could yield reduced credit card processing fees and powerful integrated customer loyalty and marketing opportunities. With mobile payment platforms such as Chase Pay and Walmart Pay set to launch nationwide in the first half of this year, we should soon gain greater insights about the technology’s industry implications.
The Disruptor: On-Demand Gas Delivery Services
Potential impact: Start-up apps such as Purple and Filld are now delivering fuel to consumers. While the service is enormously convenient, is it a service the average consumer will pay for — especially if fuel prices rise? Only currently available in limited markets, it is definitely a trend to watch.
The Disruptor: Autonomous Cars
Potential impact: Forbes listed autonomous cars as the No. 1 Most Disruptive Innovation at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Self-driving cars have the potential to enhance the independence of aging or visually impaired drivers, and entice more drivers, who are free to pursue other in-car activities such as work or relaxation, to get in their car and go places. Poised to go mainstream, battery-powered autonomous cars could increase the number of vehicles on the roadway and influence future fueling trends. We’ll be watching for developments from Google, who is currently testing driverless cars, and Apple, who has been rumored to be developing an autonomous car of its own.