ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Circle K Europe has won the NACS European Convenience Retail Technology Award, recognizing the global retailer’s Pay by Plate payment technology used for fuel purchases. The award, sponsored by Gilbarco-Veeder Root, was presented on June 1 during the virtual NACS Convenience Summit Europe.
Circle K is the first fuel retailer to introduce Pay by Plate across Europe at scale, which allows customers to pay for fuel using their number (license) plate, offering a frictionless customer experience.
“We are extremely pleased to announce Circle K as the winner of this year’s NACS European Convenience Retail Technology Award. The launch of their innovative and completely frictionless technology is not only a momentous occasion for the industry, particularly in light of the new COVID-driven safety climate, but it’s also terrific news for Europe’s drivers who increasingly come to expect safe, seamless and connected mobility,” said Jason Lund, European managing director at Gilbarco Veeder-Root.
Following a successful pilot in Norway, Pay by Plate technology was expanded to Sweden, and Circle K Europe parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. plans to expand the innovative technology across its Circle K network.
To use Pay by Plate, customers simply drive onto the forecourt, fill up with fuel and, through number plate recognition, pay for the fuel on the Circle K Easy Fuel app. The technology behind Pay by Plate aligns with established number plate recognition technology used at road tolls and parking garages/carparks across Europe, making it familiar to many European motorists.
“At Circle K, we pride ourselves on understanding our customers, and we know they are becoming increasingly focused on ease, speed, consistency and quality of service. The expansion of Pay by Plate allows us to meet this demand, further simplify and enhance the customer experience as we differentiate our forecourt offering,” said Hans-Olav Høidahl, executive vice president operations Europe at Circle K.
“The move towards a more frictionless forecourt experience is driven by the clear changes we see in consumer behavior. As market leaders, we feel it is our responsibility to continue pushing forward the development of the forecourt and convenience retail space and ensure we are adapting today to meet the future needs of our customers,” said Deb Hall Lefevre, chief information officer at Circle K.
The NACS Convenience Retail Technology Award recognizes a convenience retailing company that has pursued a significant and compelling technology initiative. First introduced in 2015, the award honors retailers that are making far-sighted, long-term investments in technology innovation.
“Circle K continues to innovate in the global convenience retail market. We are honored to celebrate the company’s forward-thinking strategies that advance frictionless and contactless technology solutions into the future of our industry,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour.
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 June 2, 2022.