Vehicle detection for better gas station business strategies
Pricing, new stations, or modification of opening hours are some of the decisions made based on data from Meshlium Scanner vehicle detection
Zoilo Ríos Gracia ran her father’s grocery store. In 1927 there were hardly any cars on the street, but Zoilo came up with the idea of incorporating a fuel pump. That’s when Zoilo Ríos, S.A. was established, with the first pump located in the industrial estate “El Portazgo”, Zaragoza, Spain. Today, Grupo Zoilo Ríos is a gas and other services station chain with twenty lots and is discovering the benefits of IoT. A new twist in its business strategy in which Libelium’s technology has assisted.
A couple of years ago, Grupo Zoilo Ríos, this chain of service stations, installed a Libelium solution for detecting Bluetooth devices in vehicles in the original station. Its purpose was to measure how many cars entered and left the gas station to cross this data with those of refuelling, cafeteria, store, car wash, and other services offered by the station.
» What has been the challenge of this field vehicle detection project?
Knowing cars that enter and leave or pass by the Grupo Zoilo Ríos service stations to adjust pricing and open hours.
» Which Libelium solutions work in this IoT project?
Meshlium scanner for vehicle Bluetooth detection
Advance Soluciones company was born from the diversification of the Grupo Zoilo Ríos business lines and is dedicated to the design of an ERP solution for gas stations. This management software integrates data from various sources to redesign business strategies, assist in decision-making and improve the figures of service stations. Among all these integrated data are those collected by Meshlium Scanner. This Libelium gateway scans and detects smart devices that work with WiFi or Bluetooth technology (phones, tablets, hands-free, and even wearables, such as bands or smartwatches). Smart device scanning is a technology widely used in the retail sector as it allows for a more in-depth understanding of the customer’s journey within shops and department stores. But this time, the tracking objective is the cars that enter and leave or pass by the Grupo Zoilo Ríos service stations.
A tool for price suggestions in gas stations
DynPrecio, the tool built by Advance Soluciones, helps to set fuel prices. It is designed in a web environment and starts from some input data and rules to get a price proposal that the station staff accept, discard, or modify. This input data is:
- Purchase price of fuel
- The sales price of the surrounding competition
- History of litres sold in the past
- Type of fuel
- Date and time of the sale
In addition to being able to calculate the price, it enables them to generate graphs with which they can conclude when modifying the rules for the pricing strategy.
Traffic data that changes the price strategy
The integration of Meshlium Scanner incorporates traffic data near the station that is blended with the rest of the data that the ERP already has (sales, litres of fuel, price, etc.). In this way, Grupo Zoilo Ríos can draw graphs that compare, for example, the number of vehicles detected versus the number of refuellings per hour. This allows them to optimize the pricing criteria based not only on internal variables but also on environmental variables.
Once the tool suggests a price, staff decide whether to apply it or not, but it can be configured to automate the change. When the new price is approved, automatically or manually, it is sent to all POS terminals with a minimum margin of one hour for its entry into force. When that time arrives, it is directly communicated to the pumps and price monoliths. The staff at the point of sale do not have to do anything. It’s all automated. Finally, when that price is accepted, the platform sends an SMS to the Ministry of Industry and Consumer Affairs automatically. To guarantee maximum transparency, legislation requires that the communication of the new prices be made at least two hours in advance. Therefore, the software already considers those two hours and does not admit a previous schedule.
More info to better business decisions
But not everything is focused on the price.
By detecting the vehicles that pass in front of the gas station, they know whether or not a change in service hours is required. “Due to COVID, people’s behaviours are changing and we have to continually adjust schedules. Although it is not an issue that ends at prices, it can also help in management ”, says Ignacio Hombreiro, Product Manager of DYNGAS at Advance Soluciones.
Grupo Zoilo Ríos also used the solution to decide if it would be profitable to invest in a gas station located in front of the current one. The Meshlium Scanner detected how many cars passed on the road in the opposite direction. With the data in hand, they discovered that it was worth opening a service station with a quick return on investment. This decision based on data from IoT technology has helped them increase their business volume.
Considering the innovative approach of Grupo Zoilo Ríos, it is certain that they will implement more ideas with Libelium technology.
- For technical details on Meshlium: Meshlium Technical Guide.
- Read more about Libelium sensor product lines in the Waspmote, Waspmote Plug & Sense! Sensor Platform and Meshlium Gateway websites.
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- Smart Airport project: monitoring environmental conditions in Santiago de Chile airport: libelium.com
- IoT to enhance the customer experience in shopping centres: libelium.com