13 Sep OUR MERCHANTS HAVE THE FLOOR: AQUILA ENERGIE
Chief Marketing Officer at Aquila Energie
When and how was Aquila Energie created?
The company was founded in the early 50s by Bruno Cecchi, who dedicated himself to both network and extra-network markets, while the name Aquila Energie was adopted in 2011 with the development of the Aquila brand and the partial release from the oil companies.
The oil industry business has very low profit margins. How to stay competitive?
By investing in quality as far as products, services, business and customer relations is concerned; by eliminating any non-value adding, unnecessary activities; by giving voice to oil station managers who are the ones in direct contact with customers.
How is the industry market? Is there intense competition?
Absolutely, there is a lot of competition also due to the partial disengagement of oil tankers which has opened up many new operators coming from different sectors, including large-scale distribution and individual “speculative” operators.
What strategies do you use to attract more customers to your oil stations?
We focus on price clarity and transparency, the quality of service offered by the station manager as well as on communications, an aspect which – until very recently – has been rather disregarded within the oil distribution sector.
It looks like multiservice stations are key to the future of the industry. Are you following this trend?
Yes, we are. We aim at making our stations a place where all customers’ mobility needs are met, going beyond traditional fuels by also offering LPG, methanol, LNG, electricity, hydrogen, etc.
When visiting your website, the digital soul of Aquila Energie clearly emerges: you have a blog as well as a constantly updated Facebook page. How and for what purposes do you use digital communication tools?
Digital marketing is a powerful tool to reach a wider audience with a lower budget investment, and we are seeing positive results: it creates brand engagement with particular reference to specific service stations which are often the subject of the communications exchange. Furthermore, the light-hearted and playful tone of voice make the oil industry environment easier and friendlier towards consumers.
Talking about payments, considering the low profit margins we presume you give this aspect special attention. What are the most efficient methods on the market?
Direct debit and deferred payment schemes are the most efficent methods as their automatic system allow oil station managers and Aquila to anticipate cash flow requirements. We have also made use of bank cheques to diminish the risk of non payment, however they may imply some risks and longer management times.
MyBank represents the most efficient and effective payment method for Aquila Energie as it eliminates any credit- and cash-related risks (such as credit collection, non-performing loans, etc.). However, it is not always easy for oil station managers to pay on delivery, therefore payment extension solutions providing risk coverage are object of study.
Why did you choose and start using MyBank?
In light of the aforementioned risks related to bank cheques, we decided to adopt MyBank solution. It’s a real-time and irrevocable payment which oil station managers can either process at the time of the fuel order, the latter being managed by Aquila, or upon order delivery. Oil station managers do not need to go the bank office while Aquila does not need to involve the transport company and ask them to make the bank transfer themselves.
What benefits are you seeing with MyBank? Are automatic reconciliation and payment security/confirmation important features?
Rapid, fluid payment processes and real-time confirmation eliminate the risks we previously experienced with bank cheques. Furthermore, manual reconciliation is no longer needed.
How does the future looks like in your industry?
In my opinion, we will see a wider product range offer for mobility in the short term while moving towards multiservice stations in the long run.
13 Sep 2019