Today’s consumer is focused on speed, convenience and value. As a result, the number of retail transactions happening through mobile devices is growing — quickly. According to survey data from market research firm Packaged Facts, nearly 30 percent of consumers made a mobile payment in 2017, up 50 percent from 2016.
Given this trend, bricks-and-mortar retailers are focused on delivering mobile payment capabilities. While the entire market is moving in this direction, fuel retailing is quickly catching on to consumer demands. Historically, the fuel retailing market has been slower to respond to advances in payment technology. In 1994, only 13 percent of convenience stores had pay-at-the-pump technology, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
Seeking a way to improve the fuel transaction for customers, Houston-based integrated energy company Phillips 66 recently introduced a mobile payment system for its network of 6,800 branded retail locations.
Jim Macari, director of innovation for Phillips 66, says 90 percent of the company’s branded retail locations, under the Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 banners, will be accepting mobile payments by the end of the year.
“Our goal in developing our mobile payment solution was to make it easy and low cost for our branded customers to implement,” Macari says. Most branded retailers already have the electronic point-of-sale hardware systems that allow for mobile payments.
The Phillips 66 mobile payment system turns the Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 branded apps into all-in-one mobile wallets for payment, directions and deals. Consumers simply download the app, create an account and link their payment method. It can take less than 60 seconds for a consumer to enroll.
The Phillips 66 mobile payment system, which works both at the pump and inside the store, was built on P97 Networks’ PetroZone Mobile Commerce Platform, with Buy It Mobility Networks (BIM) providing processing capabilities and ACH-based payment.
The Phillips 66 mobile payment system turns the Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 branded apps into all-in-one mobile wallets for payment, directions and deals.
Adam Frisch, CEO of BIM, stresses the value of having an ACH debit offering as part of the Phillips 66 mobile wallet.
“Most consumers with a bank account will have the opportunity to pay with their phone directly from their checking accounts at Phillips 66 branded sites,” Frisch says. “ACH transactions are generally much less expensive for merchants than credit and debit card transactions, and consumers also benefit since BIM makes mobile payments fast, safe, convenient and rewarding.”
Frisch also notes that BIM has fraud protection capabilities and guarantees all approved transactions. If BIM approves a transaction for a consumer that does not have sufficient funds to cover their purchase, the merchant will receive the full amount of the transaction the next day from BIM.
P97 Networks President and CEO Don Frieden is excited about the collaboration with BIM and Phillips 66. “BIM is leading the charge and is the best platform we’ve seen in the marketplace,” Frieden says. “BIM and PetroZone will make the Phillips 66 vision of a frictionless, paper-free and safe check-out process a reality.”
The Phillips 66 mobile payment solution is also rewarding for the branded retailer and the consumer. For consumers, the KickBack Points loyalty program offered by Phillips 66 is integrated right into the app. Although not a current functionality, retailers will eventually be able to push targeted coupons and promotions within the app, driving the typical fuel-only consumer into the store where profits are higher.
Macari feels good about the timing of the mobile payment solution rollout. “We’ve been in beta tests for the past few months, but we’re on the leading edge with our solution,” he says. “It’s a competitive move in the market.”
Len Lewis is a veteran journalist and author covering the retail industry in the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America.