Industry Highlights

shutterstock_3131553NACS recently published the 2016 Retail Fuels Report, and it is full of fun statistics highlighting our great industry. Intevacon is proud to work with so many hard working, smart business men and women who keep gasoline flowing around the nation.

Many of you already know the numbers reported below, whether it be through an intuitive hunch or an objective observation. Here are a few industry highlights noted by NACS:

Price Per Gallon

  • Over the last five years, the annual average retail mark-up was 19.7 cents per gallon.
  • On average, it costs a retailer 12-16 cents to sell a gallon of gasoline.
  • Over the last five years, the typical petroleum marketer averaged about 5 cents of profit per gallon of gasoline sold.

Payments

  • 72% of consumers use plastic at the pump.
  • Credit card fees comprise about 2-3%, and up to 4%, of a total purchase.
  • Credit card transaction and bank processing costs continue to exceed convenience store profits.
  • The average gross margin on fuel has averaged 6.2% before other expenses are considered.
  • The average credit card fee is about 6 cents per gallon.
  • Most merchants only make a few cents per gallon in pre-tax profit, sometimes even losing money on a fuel purchase.

Consumers

  • Price is the main consideration for 64% of customers who need fuel.
  • Gasoline purchases account for 4-5% of consumer spending.

Convenience Store Numbers

  • Convenience stores account for 34.2% of retail outlets in the US (according to Nielsen).
  • There are 124,374 convenience stores selling motor fuels in the United States.
  • There are more than 154,000 convenience stores across the US.
  • Major oil companies only own about 0.4% of the 124,374 US convenience stores.

EMV Compliance

  • In 2014, the industry reported profits of $10.4 billion and credit card fees of $11.4 billion.
  • Liability shifted to merchants in October 2015 who were not able to accept EMV cards.
  • Fuel island terminals are required to accept EMV cards by October 2017 to prevent liability.
  • The average cost per store to become EMV compliant is about $30,000, and the industry will pay more than $3.9 billion to move to EMV.

Intevacon has also had a big year. We partnered with a record number of new customers, growing our site count to over 2,200 across the US. We also started testing the Intevacon Fuels Network with select customers. In 2016, we plan to roll out the full capabilities of our network, implementing an “Everywhere, not Everybody” approach, as well as providing full ACH payment capabilities to allow our customers to streamline their accounts receivables process.

We hope 2015 was a good year for you as well, and we trust that you are also excited about a big year in 2016. If you would like to reach out to us to discuss automating your fleet cards or getting involved with our network, please call 678-739-4450 or email us a moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Trade Show Season 2016

Can you believe that trade show season is about to start again?!  It’s been a big year for Intevacon, and we can’t wait to meet with our petroleum marketers to discuss the Intevacon Fuel Network.  Come say hi at one of the shows below or give us a call to discuss how we plan to implement our “Everywhere, not Everybody” strategy for the network.

GIMP

Western Petroleum Marketers Association (WPMA) National Convention and Convenience Store Expo: February 16-18, Las Vegas, NV. Booth 1127

BP AMOCO Marketers Association Convention: February 21-24, Miami FL

Southeast Petro-Food Marketing Exposition: March 2-3, Myrtle Beach, SC. Booth 230

Gulf Coast Food and Fuel: March 9-10, Biloxi, MS. Booth 512

MPact: March 22-24, Indianapolis, IN. Booth 740

VeriFone Customer Forum: May 15-18, St. Pete Beach, FL.

Southwest Fuel and Convenience ExpoMay 9-11, Austin, TX. Booth 926

Gilbarco 2015 Retail Technology Conference: May 18-21, Hilton Head, SC

NACS: October 18-21, Atlanta, GA

If you want to contact us outside of a trade show, we can be reached at 678-739-4450 or by email at moreinfo@intevacon.com.

 

Automating House Accounts

houseThe term HOUSE ACCOUNT connotes relationships, trust, and repeat business. Our business facilitates this important function by automating house charges and making it easier for you to grow your business and focus on your customers. Intevacon is the leading software company to provide real time proprietary payment card processing.

Below are a few of the benefits you will find in automating your house charges:

  1. Centralized communication and updates: the Intevacon system is real time and allows updates to accounts, cards, drivers, and merchant sites from one central host. This means that all updates are immediately recognized across sites and your customers experience consistent service everywhere they fuel.
  2. Increased security: only authorized drivers are able to fuel by enforcing PIN at the pump and register. Additionally, other prompts and/or product restrictions can be enforced to further manage the transactions that occur.
  3. Purchase management: offer product restrictions to your customers to help them manage their fleet. Also track driver and vehicle ids for each transaction.
  4. Pay at the pump convenience: your customers can use their cards to pay at the pump or they can go inside for purchases. Improve the customer experience and reduce transaction time for your store clerks.
  5. Streamline billing processes: invoice your customers directly out of our system. We provide full controls for you to bill on your schedule and give your customers detailed transaction information on their invoice. We also provide a transfer file to upload directly to your accounting system for quick reconciliation.
  6. Customer Access: give your customers online access to view their activity and manage their fleet account. This gives your customers the autonomy to make simple changes to their account and reduces the requests that you have to fulfill. Reports and invoices are also accessible to your customers with online access.

There are many more benefits that Intevacon provides by automating your house charges. We’d love to talk to you about how to partner together to grow your business.  Find out more about the Intevacon Fleet Card System by reaching out at 678-739-4450 or emailing moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Industry records and continued expansion

graphThe convenience store industry continues to impress with its growing numbers of both locations and profits. NACS recently shared statistics in its article titled Up, Up and Away about the convenience store industry, highlighting the great year that we had in 2014, and showing promise for a strong 2015. Below are a few of the notable numbers from 2014:

  • Pre-tax profit surged 46.5% to $10.4 billion in 2014
  • Credit card companies took $11.4 billion, $1 billion more than profits
  • One in three brick and mortar retail establishments in the country is a convenience store
  • The industry store count is 152,794, a 1% climb from last year and a 28% increase from 2000
  • Fuel margin was 22.2 cents/gallon total
  • Fuel margin was 16.9 cents/gallon net card fees

Thank you, NACS, for always providing such great resources! The only statistic listed above that is not positive is the one involving credit card fees.  Intevacon continues to help our customers hold onto their margins by eliminating credit card swipe fees with the Intevacon fleet card. We are proud to be part of the convenience store industry, and we love helping our petroleum marketers as they grow their fleet business with loyal, recurring customers.  We’ve had a great year getting to know new customers, while also watching existing customers add new sites and new customer accounts. Intevacon has a lot in store for the remainder of 2015, and we are excited about BIG things!

Find out more about the Intevacon Fleet Card System by reaching out at 678-739-4450 or emailing moreinfo@intevacon.com.

What’s a fleet account worth? 13x a consumer customer

Intevacon has long understood tiStock_000002105054Smallhe value of a fleet card, and we are always excited to see our customers grow their fleet business and profit after adopting our system (see our favorite case studies here).

A recent Oil Express article further corroborated the value of fleet card accounts in its article titled “What a fleet card account is worth” (Vol. XXXVIII, Issue No 15). This article details how Sunoco is expanding its fleet card business by going after house accounts, noting that the top industries for fleet are lawn and garden, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, pest control, construction, roofing and freight transportation. Sunoco also suggests that retailers should provide discounts to their commercial accounts as a further means of gaining loyalty. Courting these fleet customers is well worth the effort—according to the Oil Express article, the sale volume generated by one new fleet customer is typically equal to that of 13 consumer customers. The article further expounds on the average number of gallons of fuel purchased on the fleet card, as well as the additional dollars that are spent inside the convenience store.

Intevacon’s petroleum marketers have always understood that house accounts are a valuable way to conduct business. While many of our customers do offer discounts to their fleet customers, this is not necessarily the norm. Many times, the relationship and extended credit between the petroleum marketer and his customer is enough to foster loyalty. The average fleet card transaction dollar value is higher than the average consumer transaction dollar value (13x more valuable according to Sunoco above). In addition, petroleum marketers using Intevacon save their margins by eliminating the transaction fee associated with traditional credit cards.

Last year was a good year for the convenience store industry. NACS released their 2014 industry statistics this week, and petroleum marketers ought to be feeling pretty good with the results. According to NACS, industry sales in 2014 reached $697.5 billion dollars with a record in-store sale total of $214.9 billion (a 4.6% increase from 2013). Gasoline prices were reported to be 4% lower in 2014 than the previous year, but the industry still saw an increase of 18.8% in fuel margins this year. This equated to an average of 22.2 cents per gallon in 2014 compared to 18.7 cents per gallon in 2013. With all of this growth, there is also opportunity for petroleum marketers to grow their lucrative house accounts and continue with positive growth into 2015. And there is no reason to give your profits away to the credit card companies and banks. Another article posted by NACS cites that the industry’s pre-tax profits of 10.4 billion dollars amounted to 1 billion dollars less than what the industry paid in credit card fees. With Intevacon, interchange fees are eliminated, and perhaps even more valuable for your fleet accounts, you are able to maintain a relationship with your customers.

Find out more about the Intevacon Fleet Card System by reaching out at 678-739-4450 or emailing moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Relationship-based Loyalty

saleAttracting customers is the goal of all retailers. The effort to attain this position can be costly depending on the methods employed. A study by COLLOQUY published in a recent NACS article states that the typical American household carries membership to about 29 loyalty programs, while only being active in 12 of them. What’s more, the convenience and fuel retail industry saw a 3% drop in loyalty program participation by the end of 2014. The cost of hosting a loyalty program, as well as potential additional discounting, means that some loyalty programs really do come with a premium.

The whole point of loyalty programs is to achieve customer loyalty with repeat business. Sometimes the cost of a loyalty program is worth the expense if a truly loyal customer relationship is achieved. And then sometimes, the retailer attracts a deal-seeker on one specific day, never to see that customer again. An earlier article published by NACS titled “When It Comes to Loyalty, Agree to Disagree” states that about 73% of consumers believe that loyalty programs should be a way for brands to show consumers how loyal they are to them as a customer. Many retailers think that the relationship should be the other way.

Intevacon likes loyalty too, but we have a different approach to achieving this end. We equip our customers to foster relationships with their customers. Our petroleum marketers gain exclusive loyalty by offering a fleet card at their sites. This card offers the benefit of fleet management such as driver and vehicle allocations, product restrictions, and real-time controls. User access is also available if petroleum marketers want to offer this added benefit. Special pricing is available for the petroleum marketer who wants to give his/her customers cost plus or cents per gallon discounts. Our loyalty comes with repeat business every time your customer uses his/her fleet card at your sites.

An article in PYMNTS.COM titled “Bread, Bananas and Building Better Customer Retention” describes the loyalty program cycle perfectly in this statement: “They are product shoppers – looking for a specific item on a specific day – sort of like the daily deal seeker. They may not come back, which means there is some possibility that the effort spent acquiring them may have only netted one – sometimes deeply – discounted sale.” At Intevacon, we hope that you capture the loyalty of every customer who comes through your doors. Even better, we want to help you gain the relationships that sustain both you and your customers in business.

If you want to find out more about Intevacon or talk to someone on our team, please call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Finding the Right Legacy

shutterstock_2122894A recent article published by PYMNTS.com titled “Why Worldpay Is Changing The Payments Conversation” highlighted an interesting facet of our ever-expanding world of technology—legacy systems. While the term legacy is often favorably attributed when it comes to family history, this is a negative word when it comes to technology. The article starts by reminiscing the 1980s with its permed hair and shoulder pads. That’s ok, everything has a season. But then the article talks about old business languages that have remained entrenched with businesses long after perms and shoulder pads went out of style. This picture of business operations makes Intevacon thankful to be a product of the 21st century where legacies can be delegated to family history instead of old software.

The Worldpay quote below might be all-too-familiar to programmers in the industry:

“What most [companies] have done is basically built a cool little tool that sits in front of legacy Base 24 [system] that’s run by Global [Collect] or First Data. And then [they say] ‘don’t ask me to do any more than what’s in that ISO 85-83 interface and don’t call me up and ask for help, because [all] I’ve done is create a simple API that makes it easier for you to connect to the legacy world.’ So it’s a translator that sits in front of the legacy [system],” Tony Catalfano, CEO of Worldpay US told MPD CEO Karen Webster in a recent interview.

An article published by Deloitte in the Wall Street Journal says, “Legacy systems’ lack of business capability, combined with the retirement of the baby boomers who developed, implemented, and maintained them, will likely force CIOs to address them. And as they consider future technology investments, they should look to confirm they’re making decisions that won’t imprison their companies tomorrow.”  Intevacon understands that petroleum marketers may be operating on legacy systems, and our platform can interface with these systems for customers who want to get a bit more mileage out of their current equipment investment.

As stated earlier, Intevacon was founded a little later than the 1980s—2010 to be exact. Our business may be relatively young, but its foundation started in 1984 when the founder, Kerry Myrick, started working in the industry. We have the wisdom of age and the flexibility of youth. One great thing about being young is that our business is built with the most innovative design and the most current technology. Our system is completely web-based, and all transactions are processed in real time. Intevacon customers are able to log into our system from any computer anywhere in the world, and everything runs smoothly. Our greatest legacy will be the people who make Intevacon great.

If you want to find out more about Intevacon or talk to someone on our team, please call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.