Amazon don’t sell petrol or diesel, at least not yet. It’s one of the few products which is tricky to deliver and really needs specialist equipment and distribution in the form of what we call ‘Petrol Stations’. It’s hard to see Amazon getting into selling fuel in the near future, but such is the might of the retailer that the petrol companies are running scared anyway.
BP’s global strategy manager Matt Rich asked the question “What happens if Amazon starts playing in fuel retail?” and went on to suggest that if Amazon did a deal with a fuel supplier and offered their 10 million UK customers the cheapest fuel on the market then a pretty large proportion of them would go for it.
It’s unlikely that Amazon will open a load of forecourts across the country, but it’s entirely conceivable that they could do a deal with a fuel company and introduce pre-paid or credit based petrol payment cards.
Marketing Week tells how BP have slashed the time it takes the company to get new product offers onto their forecourts to just four weeks in order to combat any possible threat from Amazon. Four weeks might sound like a relatively long time, but for a company like BP it’s an amazingly quick turnaround to get from a promotion concept to rolling out the offer across their 1,200 petrol stations.
Matt Rich also talked about how a visit to top up with petrol could also be the time you pick up your pharmacy prescription and your dry cleaning and while you’re at the pump someone brought you a coffee along with a parcel you missed at home. Of course nowadays that missed parcel could in all likelihood have come from Amazon so it’s no wonder BP are considering what would happen if Amazon got into the petrol supply business.
Amazon are already disrupting online retail industry and the high street, now they’re attacking the food industry and household essentials. On the tech front half their rivals use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run their services which compete with Amazon (for instance Netflix who directly compete with Prime Video run on AWS, as do Spotify who compete with Prime Music). How long will it be before we buy our petrol and diesel from Amazon and cheap fuel becomes just another benefit of our Amazon Prime membership?