What is driving the dynamism of the retail fuel market in Mexico?
The opening of the energy market makes business radically different than before. There is continuous infrastructure development in terms of supply, product, storage capabilities, and product availability in locations where there was none before. These changes are positive, because diversifying brands and value offers is something that benefits the consumer. Initially, we saw the largest global brands entering the Mexican market, because Mexico is the sixth country in gasoline consumption and growing. There many opportunities for fuel growth in retail, which is estimated to be 2.1% annually for the next 20 years versus the reduction in global demand for fuel. Mexico is, therefore, attractive, and as a national company, we must be prepared to compete with large players entering the market.
What is the added value you provide for consumers?
Some companies are investing in training or logistics, while others are investing in brand awareness. We focus 100% on the final consumer with 257 locations operated by over 3,100 employees. We also have full control over the quality of the products, with our own brands for lubricants, additives and coolants. With our traditional convenience store, we are a one-stop destination for our clients.
Your strategy is to open 500 new service stations by 2023. How are you advancing toward this goal?
We plan to invest over USD300 million until 2023 and to reach over 500 service stations in direct operation. Real estate is important because, rather than being the biggest company, we want to be the best company for service stations in Mexico. We currently are the first in service, number, and quality. To make our growth organized, we have a specialized team deciding on strategic locations for growth. We may take over the operation of some existing locations previously managed by other brands.
What has been the market reaction to your app launched in 4Q2019?
Technology is fundamental to compete. We have invested around USD14 million in the last three years to update our network, which allows clients to have the same experience, whether they use our services in Nuevo León, Baja California, or Chihuahua. Clients can request invoices through our app, and soon they will be able to pay through it too. We consider the multichannel offer critical, giving the client what they want, when they want it, and how they want it through delivery. The app was launched only in Mexico, but the global brand is planning to integrate it. Mexico is wonderful because the percentage of young people is growing, which forces us to develop in line with their needs. We even have the license for Pokémon Go, making all our 7-Eleven stores in Mexico official Pokémon Go stops.
What are your goals and objectives for the rest of 2020?
Our target is to close 2020 with a network of around 300 service stations in direct operation; we are currently at 257. We will enter the B2B segment as a wholesaler, because it is a market we want to cater to. To make consumers' lives even easier, we are launching a training focused on technology and customers for our sales team to enrich clients' experience. We also want to strengthen our app operation. In the B2B segment, the industry is asking for quality service. We want to provide logistics solutions, and we are increasing our fleet accordingly. We want to provide quality logistics, lower costs for clients, and provide added value in terms of quality and service. Technology will play a key role in achieving this. Petro-7 is a company undergoing a transformation to an integral company, and we need to be reliable in terms of stocking. We want to strengthen the brand by entering the wholesaler market, increasing the capacity of our fleet, and creating loyalty among our clients. We need to work hand in hand with the 7-Eleven brand, investing in innovation and technology.