Viva Italia
Oil-Nonoil - a brand perspective

Visiting Oil-Non Oil in Modena offered me the opportunity to gain a clear perspective of the Italian forecourt retail market. An added and unexpected bonus was a valuable insight into Italian culture, ancient, old and new.

As a London-based brand and design consultant concerned with corporate and retail image, I was reminded of the Italian flare and passion for design and aesthetics, by the elaborate and often sculptural structures that are offered by the Italian carwash manufacturers. I was astounded by the apparent love affair that Italians clearly have with these machines an industrial homage to vehicular hygiene!

Ultimately it says more about the affection that Italian’s have for their cars. This thought was suitably re-enforced by a visit to the Ferrari museum at Maranello. As my extremely affable host and show organiser Graham Hunt commented, “They are more than just cars”! True, these beautiful machines are kinetic sculptures in red.

As a guest speaker at the conference, I was given the opportunity to share my views on the future of the Italian fuels retail market, in particular the future of the filling station. The challenge as we see it is twofold: firstly retailers must grow revenues beyond fuel as margins get tighter and secondly to keep pace with ever changing customer demands amid growing competition from outside.

As a brand consultancy one of our specialities is helping our clients grow healthy margins through non-oil activities and we really believe that this will be a key to a sustainable future for the Italian forecourt. Non-oil solutions must of course be delivered in a uniquely Italian way, which suits the rich local culture and the demands of the Italian consumer. There was lively debate following my presentation, from a knowledgeable and well-attended audience clearly passionate about the future of the retail scene in Italy.

I leave the wonderful city of Modena with a clearer view of the Italian retail scene, made richer by a wonderful insight into Italian culture. I am looking forward to a return visit in two years time, but in the mean time we will apply our newly acquired insights into helping Italian retail clients prepare for a profitable future!

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Tags: italy, ferrari,