Maxol CEO Explores the Future of Last-Mile Delivery

The NACS Convenience Summit Europe session spotlighted customer expectations.

June 15, 2021

Maxol Convenience Store and Gas Station

By Pat Pape

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—When the pandemic hit, Maxol Group, a Dublin-based oil company with convenience outlets, was quick to engage the services of delivery platforms to get drinks and food in the hands of COVID-19-wary customers.

“By joining platforms like Uber Eats, we expanded the opportunity to get a much bigger audience than the customers who come into our brick-and-mortar stores,” said Brian Donaldson, CEO, Maxol Group. “It’s a way of building revenue, expanding your services, increasing awareness and becoming a bigger part of the community.”

Speaking at the NACS Convenience Summit Europe, held virtually from June 1-3, Donaldson noted that these are early days for last-mile delivery, and retailers can expect many future developments, such as convenience chains creating their own in-house delivery services.

“When you go with a third-party provider, you’re never in complete control,” he said. “Maxol will continue to use third-party providers until we have the economics of scale to support the investment in terms of vehicles. Last mile must be sustainable. Obviously, it’s expensive. Not only for us as the retailer, but for the customer as well.”

When it comes transporting customer orders, Donaldson believes it is mandatory to rely on EVs and electric bikes. “Unless you use electric vehicles, you’re increasing your carbon footprint,” he said. “Will people continue using companies that use high-carbon vehicles [for delivery]?”

In addition, Donaldson predicts last-mile delivery will impact where convenience retailers choose to build new stores. “City center locations will be even more important,” he said. “Customers must receive their products in the right condition.”

Already, Maxol is planning for the day when c-store customers’ demand for electric charging stations exceeds their need for liquid fuels.

“You’ll need to replace a big chunk of income,” Donaldson said. “You’ll need a bigger footprint, super-fast chargers and other services, such as dry cleaning and pharmacies. It’s going to take time and investment to do that.”

Maxol Newbridge, a site developed to showcase Maxol’s transformative, customer-centric brand experience, won the NACS European Convenience Retail Best of the Best Store Award for the redevelopment of its store in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. The award, sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, was presented during the virtual NACS Convenience Summit Europe.

Access a limited-time, European-relevant curation of the best of our global events—NACS Operational Insights - Europe­—featuring on-demand content from the 2021 NACS Convenience Summit Europe, as well as the 2021 NACS Human Resources Forum and NACS Crack the Code Experience. Each purchase includes more than 40 sessions with timely insights and quick-action solutions.

The NACS Convenience Summit Europe (convenience.org/CSE) is where global retailers gather each year to gain and share knowledge on strategic industry issues, while taking a deep dive into how these core, retail-centric themes will impact the industry today and in the future. This year’s event took place virtually June 1-3; next year the event is taking place in Berlin, Germany, from May 31 to 2 June 2, 2022.

Pat Pape worked in the convenience store industry for more than 20 years before becoming a full-time writer. She writes for NACS Daily and NACS Magazine.

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