A new kid on the block, Z Energy came off the back of the well-known international brand, Shell service stations. Shell had been in New Zealand since 1911 and is considered one of the top 20 brands in the world. However, Shell New Zealand had languished for a decade and was struggling to compete with the new BP "Wild Bean" concept. In late 2010, Infratil and The New Zealand Super Fund bought Shell New Zealand. Their intention was to invest both money and expertise into the 225 Z Energy service stations, and to grow the 33% market share and $2.5 billion annual turnover.
They had a vision of a service station and convenience store that reflected the “new” New Zealand and had the feel of being local as well as globally-focused. This is where RCG was able to lead the project with expertise in retail, research and property design.
After completing an extensive customer research survey we proposed that the target customers had expectations of everyday stylish branded environments, that sell everyday stylish branded product.
We designed a convenience-store brand and offer that reflected these customer aspirations, along with a better ‘coffee and food to go’ offer, a mapped customer journey and touch points, and a visual system that expressed the brand personality.
Z Energy was able to target the upper half of the customer market with a modern retail environment offering fresh food and drinks, a variety of payment technologies and high quality bathrooms. Changing the concept of what was once just a petrol station into a high end retail offering.
“We spent the last four months of the 10 site Z pilot programme listening to feedback on the Z brand and our improved offer. We now have the confidence to commit $60 million to the rebrand of our network over the next nine months and the refit of our largest 100 stores. The 10 site pilot project saw a growth in fuel volumes against previous site performance and non Z branded control sites.”
As a result...
By July 2012, 225 sites had been rebranded and by August 2013, 100 stores refurbished and over $60 million spent on the project.
Refitted stores have shown an average of 12% growth year on year and Z Energy is also the most preferred retail fuel brand in New Zealand. Revenue has grown to $3 billion, a 20% increase over 3 years despite a drop in actual fuel volumes sold. The average c-store sales revenue has grown to $1.25 million per store.