With a higher frequency of charging on the go, Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B) appears to have firm conviction that the company’s convenience and fuel network has a strong use case in an electrified world. To complement on-site charging, Couche-Tard expanded the company’s home and workplace electric vehicle (EV) solutions to over 4,500 charging points. Additionally, with Circle K Pro, Couche-Tard’s new commercial fuel and charge card platform, the company is addressing the needs of a growing business-to-business (B2B) customer base and learning how to best to serve it.
More experiential customer experience
As part of Couche-Tard’s journey, the company has successfully developed destination stores that offers a more experiential customer experience, an enhanced food offering, and table seating with complimentary wireless connections. On that note, Couche-Tard’s new site in Bamble, Norway, was recently recognized by the Association For Convenience and Fuel Retailing (NACS) as a winner in the “Most Important Store of 2020” category. The award showcases this incredible destination as one of Norway’s largest EV hubs with 32 EV charging stations.
Outside of Norway, Couche-Tard has expanded the company’s charging capabilities in Europe through partnerships and has rolled out the company’s first Circle K chargers in Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark. In the coming year, Couche-Tard will be sharing all the company’s learnings from Europe, as it begins to deploy charging points in North America through partnerships with Tesla, Electrify America, and Circuit Électrique, starting with select markets in Quebec and California.
Licence plate recognition payment system
Further, the company is already starting to see a positive initial response, as it is among the first to introduce the licence plate recognition payment system technology to customers. Over the coming months, Couche-Tard expects to continue to look for ways to differentiate the company’s offer and make the company’s shopping experience easier and ready for the future.
Organic network development continues to be an essential component of Couche-Tard’s growth strategy. Whether Couche-Tard is building new sites in key locations, renovating and re-imaging existing stores, or acquiring complementary networks, the company’s goal as a seller of time and convenience is to always keep a close contact with customers, to engage clients in meaningful ways with the company’s brand, and to satisfy the daily needs of customers.
Focus on capital preservation
As part of Couche-Tard’s five-year plan to double the business, the company has set a path to increase the number of new store builds from approximately 100 to 200 annually. While the pandemic and Couche-Tard’s consequent focus on capital preservation temporarily delayed the company’s pace, it did not remove the company’s focus from the achievement of medium- and long-term objectives.
During the past year, Couche-Tard strengthened the company’s network development team, completed a comprehensive review of the company’s global portfolio, and grew the company’s pipeline for future stores. For the upcoming year, Couche-Tard has significant capital towards re-accelerating the company’s rollout of new stores and is actively seeking opportunities in select metropolitan cities and dense urban areas to take advantage of commercial space vacancies created by the unfortunate pressures from the pandemic.