Recognising the key role that digitisation is playing in the financial lives of more and more of its customers, one of South Africa's leading fuel and convenience retailer Engen is prioritising electronic payment solutions at the core of its customer offering.
"While the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the adoption of digital payments and likely accelerated its use by a few years, Engen was already witnessing and responding to a growing move to digital payments - a shift that research suggests may ultimately lead to a cashless society," comments Khalid Latiff, Engen's general manager: corporate strategy and communications.
With over 3.4 billion litres of fuel pumped from Engen forecourts in 2020, or approximately 25% of the local market, and some 327 million retail customer transactions honoured in that time, Engen is witnessing a sharp increase in digital payments across its market leading network of 1 000+ service stations.
A recently released report by PwC titled ‘Payments 2025 and Beyond’, estimates cashless transaction volume growth in Africa of 78% from 2020-25 and 64% by 2030, meaning that the number of cashless transactions on the continent will be approximately double to triple the current level.
"One of the unintended consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns is that more and more people commenced, or upped, their use of digital technology to shop and transact, which has served to quicken the spread of mobile-first behaviour and lessened daily reliance on cash," observes Latiff.
"As such, Engen has made proactive advancements in the digital payment space over the past 18 months to ensure we serve our customers in a manner that they demand."
Fuel and convenience store app
It has seen Engen pioneer a fuel and convenience store app for motorists with release of the Engen 1app in July 2020, conveniently offering its South African customers a safe and contactless way to settle transactions across its 1,000+ service stations.
"As South Africa again eases its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, and ahead of the festive season, many more motorists are expected on the road and to visit the country’s favourite and 'coolest' petrol station brand," says Seelan Naidoo, Engen general manager: retail.
"In preparation, we encourage all motorists to download the Engen 1app because it offers a safe customer service experience, as there is no touching of devices, cards or cash required."
By downloading and using Engen 1app, motorists do not need to carry cash or cards to make fuel purchases; while loyalty points are automatically registered with Engen’s prestigious loyalty partners, Clicks Clubcard and FNB’s eBucks.
"Engen 1app’s digital wallet allows motorists and shoppers to load and store their payment methods, such as cards or accounts, on their mobile devices," adds Naidoo.
"It also allows you to send fuel funds to friends and family through the app. For example, if your child has run out of money for petrol and they have an important interview to get to or a university exam to sit, you can send money to their 1card stored in the app for them to fill up with fuel or shop at Engen."
Future of convenience motoring
According to a report by FIS, a leading financial services technology group, digital-wallet-based transactions increased globally by 7% in 2020.
Latiff says: "Their prediction is that digital wallets will account for more than half of all global e-commerce payments by 2024, as consumers transfer from card-based transactions to QR code-based ones.”
This is conveyed in the Engen 1app’s encouraging growth, with an 129% increase in downloads between January and October 2021, a 102% jump in registrations and a 143% increase in total payments.
"The increase in the use of the Engen 1app reaffirms our customer lens focus on digital and is borne out by the app’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 92 (up from 90 since the beginning of 2021)," says Naidoo.
Other benefits of Engen 1app include an interactive Engen service station locator, a vehicle logbook to track your mileage, a full record of your purchase history and special promotions, all offering customers a gateway to the future of convenience motoring.