Zapping fuel costs and saving time with Z App

February 21, 2024

They’re an energy company dedicated to digital innovation, with a mobile app packed with features to make purchasing petrol faster, simpler, and cheaper. But for many users of Z App – an app for Z customers – the big draw is another essential daily fuel: Coffee. The ‘jump the queue’ feature is one of Z’s most popular mobile offerings, allowing customers to pre-order custom-made drinks from Z stations nationwide.

It might not be the flashiest digital feature, but it’s a favourite of Z’s GM Strategy, Delivery and Innovation, Mandy Simpson. “If I’m heading out for the day, I’ll often order a coffee to pick up at my local Z on my way out,” she says. “And when my partner and I are on a long drive, whoever isn’t driving will order the coffees for the next stop.”

Mandy’s not alone. Almost one in four coffees sold by Z are now pre-ordered online, a stat that’s mirrored in the skyrocketing usage rates for Z App as a whole. Its active userbase grew by 78% in 2023, with monthly transactions now three times what they were in 2021 when Z began focusing on app adoption.

Z App is a key part of Z’s digital strategy but, more than that, it epitomises the innovative, customer-first ethos that has long been central to the Z brand. “We’re always trying to understand what customers need and meet those needs as well as we can,” says Mandy. “The digital version of that is driven by the fact that phones have become such a big part of everyone’s lives.”

For many customers, digital equals timesaving, whether that means pre-ordering coffee or being able to purchase petrol without getting your wallet out. With your payment details securely stored, the Pay with Z App feature offers a seamless payment process: Simply drive into any lane, wait to be prompted to enter your pump number on Z App, then start filling up.

Using the Pay by Plate option is even easier, as your pump is recognised by forecourt cameras and all you need to do is unlock it on your phone. Payment is charged to your card automatically once set up – no swiping or queuing required.

Z App is also home to your Pumped discounts, which can be applied to both in-store and in-app payments or stacked to use at a later date when spending $40 or more.

Mandy says easy access to Pumped discounts is the reason that many customers download the app, only to find an array of other money – and time-saving features inside. “They fill up their car like normal, they’ll take their phone in and scan their discount at the till. That’s the only thing they use it for to begin with – that’s the starting point,” says Mandy. Discounts and vouchers (new users get a free coffee on sign-up) are an easy way into Z App.

The Sharetank feature, on the other hand, takes a bit more explaining, but it’s made a significant difference to how customers pay for fuel. Accessed via Z App, Sharetank lets you pre-purchase fuel from any Z station in a 30km radius, then use it later at any Z station nationwide – no matter the current price at the pump.

Petrol price variations are a fact of life in New Zealand, so Sharetank is ideal for people who travel regularly and want to lock in the best price. And with each virtual tank able to hold up to 1000 litres, the savings can really add up. But Sharetank isn’t just for long-distance commuters – the hint is in the name.

“I share mine with my mum,” says Mandy. “I don’t have a petrol car myself, but if I’m somewhere with cheaper petrol I’ll put some on Sharetank so she can use it later.” Up to five people can share a virtual tank, making it ideal not just for families but also for small businesses. “You can get a business card from us, but there’s obviously a fairly rigorous credit check process. Sharetank is a great alternative, certainly for early-stage businesses.”

Since its introduction in 2020, Sharetank has seen a steady increase in uptake. “For people who use it, they become incredibly loyal,” says Mandy. “People are like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is amazing.’” While the ability to pre-purchase fuel isn’t unique to Z, Mandy believes the sharing facility is a world-first.

Despite its digital success so far, Z isn’t standing still. Coming up in April is the long-anticipated integration of the EV Charging App into the main Z App, meaning drivers of electric vehicles will no longer need separate apps to charge their car and pre-order coffee for the road.

As for the longer-term, Mandy says the sky’s the limit. “The world is changing – energy use, in particular, is changing so fast. We’re focused on readying ourselves to meet that need from our customers. This is definitely not the end of our innovation journey.”