Sunday, October 21, 2007

In or Out ?

Are the In and Out stores found in the petrol pumps - In or Out ?

While filling up diesel at the petrol pump yesterday, the sight of the well stocked "In & Out " store made me think. "In & Out" stores are the retail outlets in most Bharat Petroleum fuel stations.

Am thinking aloud here - Do let me know what you think.

If " In & Out " has to make money, the store has to bring people in. Obviously, the biggest target customers are the people who come to fill fuel. In the western nations, in the absence of a fuel pump attendant, the car drivers / owners fill fuel in their cars on their own and are forced to go into the petrol station office ( in all cases, a retail outlet is a part of the office ).

If we look at the Indian scenario, the petrol pump attendant fills fuel and the car drivers/owners pay cash near the pump and leave away from the station. Also, the space constraints limit the drivers from parking the cars and getting into these retail outlets.

The only time i went into the retail outlet was when a bunch of us were driving around at 2 am and were hunting for a non-alcoholic drink.

Unless customers are drawn into this store, this model may not work.

Would love to hear what you think about this .


Siddhi said...

Also, in countries like America, the place you stay is pretty far from the grocery store, so the store in the bunk is usually closest for emergency supplies. I guess late night supplies also since they are open 24h.

Archu:-) said...

Hmmm...actually speaking its only for emergencies that we approach these shops and sometimes some of the stuff there are outdated as no one buys....I guess some coool offers like buy two get one free...and some good cash back offers can help these shops!Moreover these outlets should be there only in those bunks which are in such areas where there is no nearby fodworld or spencers mart....cos when we find something nearby,we tend to stop there(parking is easier and there is no one honking asking us to move from there)

Amritha said...

Hmmm...Good observation...I think these shops might do better business on the Highways than they do within the city..Cos when you're out on the road for a long drive you tend to stock up on water / snacks to tide you by...

alpine path said...

Yup! The options(like foodworld, other shops, etc.) are too many in India for the In & Out stores to compete. Also, their services, parking and the sheer variety of stuff that you get makes these stores pale before them. BP has to think of something else to pull the crowd in. One way might be to entice the customers with free petrol for purchases Rs.X and higher. I'm sure the business would just shoot up(:D) because the groceries get done AND you get FREE petrol :D Do tell me your thoughts on this!

Karthikeyan....KK said...

@ Sid - True. Makes sense. But emergency supplies in America is probably a big market ( am guessing! )

@ Archu - Not sure if we go to these shops for emergency purchases during the day ( no dearth of small shops around ).

@ Amritha - Oh yes, highways... That would work ( they can even charge a premium for the service )

@ Alpine - hmm free petrol. Am guessing again - It might work once , to get customers into the shop. Will customers keep coming even after the free petrol offer is taken away ? Customers should come regularly. I go to a spencers dialy every week .

Plan to do a follow up post on this, as to what in & out can do. Pls do share your thoughts. Am not an expert ( not even remotely.. ) but will love to learn :)

Narayan said...

the only way such shops will work is if they start selling automotive spares and other stuff - like wash cloth, accessories. right now, the problem is that if we need a spare, we need to go to a spares market or a mechanic. there is no network.

Sandy said...

Im certain that BP would not have started the store in a bunk concept without some scientific study. Having said that, most new concepts take a while to catch on. So Im sure with time, these stores will work. Also there may be other factors that might work or hinder these stores. KK - your observation on parking space is spot on I would think.