Drive-off Thoughts?

Pay At The Pump Consequences

What will happen to cstore traffic if pay at the pump is mandatory?

Given the recent tragedies in Ontario with two fatalities of retailers trying to apprehend drivers speeding off without paying for their gas purchases, the debate has once again surfaced “Should government make it mandatory for payment at the pump”. If you ask retailers that are responsible for lost revenue from drive-off’s, these retailers are inclined to say yes to making consumers pay for their gas at the pump. The motivation behind their decision stems from the increase in gas thefts as price of fuel has steadily been above $1 a litre. The logic is simple….as gas prices rise….so do gas thefts…and mandatory payment at the pumps will eliminate gas thefts entirely. Is this narrow-minded thinking or good business sense?

On the other side of the coin, there are those retailers that believe mandatory payment at the pump will result in more and more customers filling up with gas and driving away. In other words, customers forgoing a visit to the store full of impulse purchases that carry good margins. Depending on who you ask, retailers indicate about 3 out of 10 customers visit the store when making a gas purchase. The number is influenced by a fresh coffee and food offering. Since retail is all about conversion, the first and primary goal is to get more and more customers visiting the store. Will mandatory payment at the pump reduce this number, or possibly increase this number? Most believe it will reduce the store visitors and as such, do not want mandatory payment at the pump. What are your thoughts? Do you want mandatory payment at the pump and what is your rationale?