IOC retail chain

In this article we want to highlight a case if IOC to show how bigger corporate companies are entering the field of Retailing. IOC has gone in for a chain of convenience stores (C-stores) at select petrol pumps throughout India.

In the initial years, the stores will be run mostly in the metros. Even in the metros, only select outlets with ample space will be converted into such stores. Obviously, prime spots in the metros have the best chance of success.

IOC has 8,400 petrol stations countrywide. They are classified into three categories. The first category consists of petrol pumps owned and operated by the company. The next category designated as ‘A’ sites consists of petrol pumps owned by the company and operated by dealers. The third to which most of the pumps belong, is dealer owned.

IOC aims to increase the share of owned outlets to 30%. It is also working on a strategy to increase the number of ‘A’ sites.

The pumps are revamped to suit the operation of a convenience store before the stores are located there. All the revamped pumps have a common signage and visual identity reflecting the Indian Oil brand.

IOC has tied up with Akbarally’s, a leading Mumbai-based retail chain in this regard. Select IOC pumps will feature an Akbarally’s C-store.

The first Akbarally’s-cum-petrol outlet, branded Top Gear, has been operating in south Mumbai for the past one year. Larsen & Toubro built the first of the revamped pumps.

IOC plans to extend the Top Gear brand to company owned and operated pumps all over the country.

Initially, IOC Akbarally’s outlets were located in Mumbai, Jaipur and one or two other cities in western India. One store was opened in Delhi. In all, about 40 outlets were opened in 2000-01 in the phase.

IOC is also planning to introduce a frequent-user reward scheme for shoppers at these stores.

IOC has found another niche in the form of day and night medical stores at the outlets. It has tied up with the Apollo group to offer medical facilities at these stores.

IOC is also negotiating with McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the Kamat group for a possible tie-up for fast food outlets at its petrol pumps.

Since research findings revealed that soft drinks featured high on the consumers’ preferred list of products to be stocked at the pumps, IOC tied up with Coca-Cola to set up kiosks at selected pump sites across the country. Coca-Cola is already retailing its soft drinks from more than 40 out of the 70 IOC sites in Delhi and has set up Kiosks at 20 of them.

The major intent behind the move is, of course, to increase the sale of petrol and lube products.

IOC Convenio, Delhi the country’s first convenience store-cum-petrol pump, located at the IOC pump near the IIT flyover in New Delhi, has been functioning well for the past few years. The sales at the store have been rising substantially year by year.