New Zealand’s capital now has its very own Z, right in the Wellington central business district. Z Harbour City, on the corner of Customhouse Quay and Whitmore Street was officially opened this afternoon by Transport Minister Steven Joyce.
The opening of the site is the latest in a 10 site pilot programme, from which Z Energy aims to receive customer feedback that will help the company refine its offer.
Z is jointly owned by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Kiwi company Infratil. The decision to replace the Shell logo with a new brand that reflects the local ownership of the business was developed following one of the most significant pieces of customer research into what Kiwi consumers want in a locally owned service station.
“As Z Energy, we can now bring our customers a new retail offer under a brand that is all about New Zealand,” said Z CEO Mike Bennetts.
Mike said the most immediate and visible change will be one of the largest rebranding exercises in recent New Zealand history, but changing the colours and the brand is only a part of the story.
“The Z brand will provide a visual point of difference and our customers will know they’re supporting a Kiwi company when they shop with us. More importantly, our new look stores will provide customers with a completely overhauled and significantly improved offer,” Mike said.
“With the Z brand we have redesigned our stores and our offer around what people told us they want - we have made a commitment to forecourt service for people that want it and we will be offering café quality food and coffee.”
So what will the first Z customers see and experience?
“People told us that they want to get in, get world-class fuel, good coffee and fresh food and be on their way quickly. Speed is always important, but particularly so to workers in the CBD, who often have to multi-task on a busy day. A service station may not instinctively seem like the place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat, but our gourmet pies, cupcakes, sandwiches and espresso coffee range are seriously good.
Mike said that another key thing that came out of the research was that customers wanted Z to contribute to the New Zealand economy and to things that matter in our local neighbourhoods.
“So, while we will be supporting local businesses, and the profits from the Z business will be kept in New Zealand and go towards meeting the costs of superannuation, we will also be investing directly in the things that matter locally,” he said.
“With every Z site that we open, we will be donating $5,000 to community organisations, with customers able to vote from four local community organisations. For the Harbour City site, this $5,000 will be allocated, according to customer votes between Wellington Free Ambulance, Plunket Wellington, Eastern Rock Community Patrol and the Downtown Community Ministry Foodbank. Across 220 retail sites, this represents an initial investment in community-based groups and activities of more than $1 million.
“We reckon customers are ready for a change and the feedback we have had from Greenlane and Skyway so far says we are on the right track. So try it out and tell us what you think,” said Mike.
The other Z pilot stations are: Greenlane, Skyway and Takanini, Auckland; Waiouru; Shirley and Linwood, Christchurch; Mana, Wellington; Turangi; and Putaruru.