Leaders Forum: <strong>Andy Baird, General Manager, Retail, Z Energy </strong>

Leaders Forum: Andy Baird, General Manager, Retail, Z Energy 

For the latest edition of C&I NZ, Andy Baird, General Manager, Retail, Z Energy outlined Z Energy’s plans to invest in store layout, on-the-go fare and EV charging infrastructure.

Baird said 2022 was a massive year for Z Energy’s retail business with significant investments in store layout updates and electric vehicle uptake. 

“Following a successful pilot in late 2021, in 2022, we ramped up the rollout of our store refresh program. The program is focused on refreshing the look and feel of Z’s top-performing retail sites. 

“We are on track to complete 16 sites by the end of FY23, with a total of 50 sites set for completion by mid-2024. It is the most significant investment Z has made into its retail network since we launched the Z brand in 2010,” he said. 

“A focus of the programme is Mobility 10, which is food and drink that is consumed within 10 minutes of purchase by our on-the-go customers. 

“The refreshed store layout has been designed with this in mind to ensure we could de-bunch queues and wait spaces, making it even easier for customers to pick-up pre-ordered coffee,” said Baird. 

Moving with the times, Z Energy also rolled out its Z-branded electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. 

“We have committed to rolling out fast chargers to over 40% of our network by 2025, which will help our customers transition to a low carbon future and is aligned to our purpose of solving what matters for a moving world. 

“It’s an exciting time to be at Z, where the transition to an electrified light fleet is well underway,” said Baird. 

“Another highlight of 2022 was our annual Good in the Hood initiative,” he continues. “This year, we shared $1 million across Aotearoa thanks to our customers voting for their favourite local charities and community groups,” he said. 

Acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 over the past couple of years and the ongoing challenges associated with it, Baird said fuel sales have steadily returned, and while the focus to date has been on staff and customer safety, focus can now return to speed and convenience. 

“As the uncertainty of the previous two years dissipates and we move out of the pandemic, our teams are well equipped to continue offering best in class service to our customers so that we can meet their fuel and convenience needs, and at some sites, also their electron needs,” he said. 

Baird predicts that the upswing in fresh food and grocery purchases noticed in 2022 will continue into 2023 as the population continues to purchase healthier options and alternatives.

“There is an overall trend that the perception of service stations has moved beyond a basic fuel and convenience offering, to a broader grocery offering. 

“Based on this year’s performance, we are expecting an increased trend in top up groceries and Uber delivery of snacks and groceries,” said Baird. 

Looking towards 2023, Baird sees plenty of opportunity for Z Energy to innovate and enhance customer experience, even in the face of a predicted rise in the cost of living across the country. 

“A major challenge facing Aotearoa for the foreseeable future is the cost of living. This has impacts on all elements of our retail network – from supply chain to end customers,” said Baird. 

Despite this, Baird said: “There are plenty of opportunities for Z in 2023, much of which can be pinned down to ‘innovation’.” 

Moving with the times and capitalising on consumer trends, Baird said Z Energy’s scale and willingness to evolve sets them apart from competitors and, ultimately, the ability to provide customers with a unique offering that meets their needs. 

This article originally appeared in the C&I NZ section of the February edition of FMCG Business.

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