Monday, 17 July 2006

E-Commerce and Virtual Oil Companies


Futurologists would have us believe that "virtual oil companies" will soon be serious competition for established, traditional oil companies, adding to competition already established in many regions from supermarkets. Internet enabled motorists will soon be dialing up "Friendlyfueller.com", their internet based virtual oil company, whilst on the move. This e-company will have secured bulk fuel purchases and will be able to offer a reduced price at the filling station. On the screen of our mobile phone will be a map of the area, displaying the locations of the Friendlyfueller / host brand site as well as the fuel prices. Consumers will have the choice between "Friendlyfueller.com" and the existing host brand. Whether oil companies would be complacent enough to allow such a practice from a "virtual oil company" remains to be seen.It is true that oil companies are already adding a virtual element to their own businesses. Products can be purchased from some companies on-line and picked up on site.


Euroshell, for example, offers a very useful internet-based service for truckers where they can co-ordinate with haulage companies to ensure their number of empty journies is minimised. The idea of a petrol station being a drop & collect zone makes sense when one considers how much real estate oil companies own. Any extra form of revenue generation is bound to be well received. Full internet facilities are already being offered in-store and some companies are considering adding the latest concept - Fastaweb. This is a simple, low-cost website service whose intention is to make websites available for the masses. Websites can be set-up very quickly and cheaply by designers employed on site. Fastaweb stores will also appear in high-streets, initally in England and Italy.

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