The Texaco/UPS agreement marks one of the major changes occurring in the service station sector: retailers are turning their service stations into a major shopping destination rather than simply a place to buy fuel. At the same time, the move should be a major boost for eCommerce, allowing people to pick up goods at convenient times.
Texaco has concluded an agreement with UPS to have Internet purchases delivered to Texaco petrol stations where customers can pick up the goods at their own convenience. Private consumers in the Benelux region are now able to use any of the 1000 Texaco service stations as a 'drop zone' for purchases bought over the Internet, thus countering problems of receiving the goods.
The technology incorporates a mapping solution linking the Internet retailer's site with a dedicated Texaco website. The customer can then select a service station and view opening hours, directions and phone number. On delivery of the package the UPS system informs the Texaco system, which then emails the customer to let them know the package is available for collection. This is an excellent move from an eCommerce point of view, since service stations have flexible opening hours, often open for 24 hours a day, and are present across a large proportion of the country. Customers can pick up purchases from where, and when, it suits them.
The service will also undoubtedly encourage customers to purchase other products and services, with service stations across Europe actively enhancing their product range. It's already common to see video rental, hot food and drink and dry cleaning at the local petrol station - but this is nothing compared with the range of services we will see in a few years' time.