Since rebranding from Shell to Z Energy in 2011, Z service stations have been evolving their in-store offer to cater to the changing needs of consumers across New Zealand.
There are 197 Z service stations across the country, spread throughout towns, cities, and state highways. They are conveniently located within local communities and provide consumers the ability to park on-site, offering the option to both re-fuel their cars and themselves at the same location.
Abby Irving, Head of Convenience Retail at Z, said since Covid they are seeing more of their customers ‘living local’.
“Communities have become increasingly important since the pandemic began, given people were unable to leave them for relatively long periods of time during lockdowns. The role of Z’s retail network in particular became much more important for neighborhoods and communities as a safe, convenient way to buy food, coffee and household supplies such as bread and milk without having to confront a socially distanced supermarket.”
Irving said they have seen this trend continue as lockdown restrictions have eased and have recorded growth of 17% in food and 12% in coffee sales this year, but a real highlight has been the significant growth in their pre-order coffee through the Z App, which saw a 25% increase from last year.
“Through the Z App customers can pre-order coffee and a range of other hot and chilled beverages before approaching a retail site, prepay for it through the app and simply collect and go. While this has been around since 2018, we’ve noticed a greater reluctance from Kiwis to queue since the emergence of Covid and measures such as social distancing.
“By listening to what our customers were telling us, we’ve been able to effectively promote our app-based coffee offer. This is proving an increasingly popular offer with sales via the app increasing rapidly. It now accounts for around 20% of our coffee sales.”
The fuel offering at Z has also been adapted, with Z building an ecosystem of ways for customers to pay according to which one suits them best at that time, which includes the pre-order coffee within the Z App.
“We are continuing to look at ways for how we can use innovative technology to enhance the customer experience, including for our retail offering.”
Z service station’s food offering is also impressive, with a great range of vegan food available, from sausage rolls, smoothies, and award-winning pies.
“We are continuing to develop our food and coffee offering, and are planning to expand our fresh, healthy food range, alongside our existing and much-valued current offer.
“Everything on our menu is designed to be enjoyed on the go. Whatever your tastes, there’s sure to be something that will fuel you up and get you going.”
In what was an uncertain year, Irving said they are incredibly proud of their retailers and teams who stayed open to fuel the emergency and essential workers, regardless of the Covid alert level restrictions.
Z service stations will continue to grow in 2022, with Irving revealing they are currently going through a “refresh” of their sites, working on updating the design, layout, and food and beverage offering.
“With fewer people travelling across the country and no international tourists, our highway sites have been impacted since the emergence of Covid. While this has been something beyond our control, we have taken the opportunity to prioritise some of these sites as we begin our refresh of the next generation retail stores. This will mean they are ready with a new layout and design to welcome customers back as restrictions ease.”