Not All Fleets Are Created Equal

Whether an organization maintains an existing fleet offering or they’re evaluating fleet as a new opportunity, one of the most common barriers that retailers face when attempting to gain incremental market share is that their offering assumes a universal need across the fleet portfolio. In reality, the needs that over-the-road (OTR) fleet users require in a program will vary starkly from the use cases that light commercial vehicles (think pickup trucks or Amazon delivery trucks) will demand.

The Needs of OTR

Among those who miss out on the market-share of OTR operators, one common misconception for why they aren’t “winning” is that they don’t offer the right type of payment card. While it’s true that fleet issuers like Wex and Comdata offer a different mechanism of payment card acceptance, payment is only one piece of the experience they offer to fleet operators.

Beyond payment card acceptance, the fleet programs that appeal to OTRs are the programs that build their service offerings around the needs of OTRs to provide cash advances, payroll services and maintenance on vehicles. “The winners in this space are those who take the time to build a sophisticated mobile experience, tailor-made to their consumers,” states Patrick Raycroft, Convenience and Energy Lead at W. Capra. “If your fleet attempts to target OTR drivers, but you’re offering isn’t recommending optimal locations to your drivers to minimize both price and distance, you’re already behind the competition.”

In many cases, fleet programs have built index-minus pricing into their contracts to guarantee that they can move more diesel at a lower margin than other retail programs. Beyond the fill-up, many OTR mobile experiences point to the physical at-site differences of truck-stops that the average retail convenience stores don’t offer. Fleet applications that empower OTR truckers to reserve a shower or schedule laundry demonstrate an innate understanding of their customers’ lifestyle needs that the other apps have yet to establish.

The Needs of Light Commercial Vehicles

For some light commercial fleet drivers, the choice of where to fill can be as simple as whether the site accepts Fuelman cards. Others may gravitate toward wherever they receive personal rewards for professional driving. Regardless of the need that you’ve identified in your targeted consumers, it’s essential to capture that need in your digital experience.

“For a business that’s reliant on consumers who are always on the go, the digital experience has become the heart of engagement,” notes Kevin Struthers, W. Capra’s Digital Consumer Experience Lead, “Though not all fleets fit perfectly into OTR or light commercial vehicle categories, the digital experience must be cohesive and targeted enough to communicate the needs that it is meeting for intended consumers.”

Confirming Your Program’s Identity

“If your program assumes all drivers have identical needs in a fleet card offering, odds are that you aren’t directly appealing to any population’s direct needs in a program,” Raycroft concluded. “W. Capra has found it’s always useful to invest the time in confirming what your program needs to be to attract the consumers you’re intending to target.”

For further discussion around maximizing your fleet offering, contact Patrick at ptraycroft@wcapra.com or Kevin at kstruthers@wcapra.com.