Vice President of Business Enablement
Digital transformation and technology investments are changing the way many industries do business, and convenience stores are no different.
In this article, we take a look at some of the top business priorities for convenience stores in 2019, along with the technology investments they’re making to achieve those goals.
- Better Management of Inventory and Revenue
The recent 2018 Convenience Store News Technology Study found that 56% of c-stores are looking to improve their inventory management at the store level. One of the primary ways they’re achieving this is by investing in automation.
In fact, 93.5% of c-stores are investing in automation, with 68.87% of the dollars being spent on store-level technology versus 31.2% on technology for their headquarters.
Automation takes on many forms, including automated data collection, RFID, inventory, transaction tracking, and analytics. Through a combination of the latest in mobile computing, barcode scanning technologies, and software solutions, automation can help stories identify, track, and analyze inventory.
By automating inventory processes and bringing the data together at the tap of a mobile computer or tablet screen, stores can easily manage inventory, keep the right products in stock, and get a complete picture of customer purchasing activity, trends, and opportunities.
It also ties closely to another important initiative in the industry, which is automating loyalty programs. In fact, 54% of c-stores have already implemented automated loyalty programs, and another 25% are planning to do so in the near future.
With enhanced tracking and data collection, c-stores can track purchases and trends by individual customers, which
yields insights for better inventory planning and product placements as well as personalized email marketing campaigns and discount offers.
- Replacing Aging Point-of-Sale Systems
Many c-stores are making technology investments to replace their aging point-of-sale (POS) systems to provide faster checkouts, ensure EMV compliance, and accept more payment types. In fact, in 2018, 47.7% of stores said they planned to replace their POS systems this year.
Investing in new POS systems means they can serve customers better with mobile or self-service checkouts, faster and more secure transactions, acceptance of mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and intelligent inventory and store operation analytics.
- Speeding up Customer Checkouts
No one likes waiting in line to make a purchase; in fact, it’s the quickest way to lose a sale, which is why 42% of convenience stores want to speed up their checkout processes.
Upgrading POS systems is one way to speed up checkouts by enabling quicker transaction processing and acceptance of mobile quick-pay methods. For example, 7-Eleven, QuickTrip, and ExtraMile have all done this by enabling acceptance of tap-to-pay payments via Apple Pay
Self-service checkouts are also becoming increasingly popular, with many stores investing in self-checkout kiosks equipped with built-in barcode scanners and payment solutions.
Others are making technology investments in mobile checkout kiosks that they roll out during busy times. For example, Wawa, a chain of over 800 c-stores in the eastern United States, is conducting pilot tests of checkout kiosks on wheels with a barcode scanner, credit card reader, small counter, and a bagging system—all in a space no larger than a mailbox.
Making Transformations with Technology Investments
Mainstreet Inc. is proud to partner with Zebra Technologies to deliver the latest point-of-sale, inventory, barcoding, RFID, mobile computing, and data capture technologies for the retail industry. Our experts will help you provide faster service, improve your inventory management, and maximize customer loyalty and company profits.
Visit us now at www.mainstreetinc.net to learn more about what we do or contact us now to request a free expert consultation.