C-Stores: Rethink That Tech Upgrade

We all expect technology to make life easier. Companies that deal with customers directly, especially in a retail setting, need to find unique ways to deliver an eCommerce style experience to in-store shoppers to meet their expectations.

For c-stores, customers need new ways to pay digitally and a seamless checkout process. According to a CSNews article, 45% of customers say speed and wait times matter and 44% of shoppers want technology to get them in and out of the store faster.

The average customer spends just 3 minutes inside a convenience store – not much time at all, and yet this isn’t good enough! Customers continue to demand more convenient convenience. How can stores get that down to 2 minutes? How can stores effectively market to customers in that small amount of time? Technology, of course!

Convenience retail faces some huge challenges in order to meet these up and coming tech driven demands. Aging hardware and software applications are seen as a big hurdle with using existing infrastructure to meet the demands of shoppers during peak hours. Additionally, convenience store owners are concerned about the costs of migrating to new hardware. Small margins in the industry mean that ROI needs to be well forecasted to justify the expense.

Another study shows that 96% of convenience retail IT teams would invest in new technology if it were easier to implement new software products and services. The industry is commonly burdened with other tech challenges including security and governance, managing sales from multiple locations, and the impossible nature of existing applications to be upgraded to support the organization’s digital transformation.

Even with all the concerns – the studies indicate that it makes sense to invest in technology. 55% of convenience stores say that existing systems are unable to support customers during peak hours. This results in increased wait times and disappointed customers. Compounding this, 51% of c-stores believe their existing tech stack is hindering innovation. Current systems like point-of-sale and back-office lack the ability to deliver new in-store customer experiences.

Amazon Go and the quick, frictionless experience it provides to customers is seen as a major threat by traditional convenience stores. More than 40% are looking into technologies related to scan and go and mobile payments.

These technologies are all around us and c-store executives aren’t blind to their benefits. Their inability to invest is the result of confusion and being misled by the dominant paradigms of the industry. It’s time to question the processes and examine what c-store retailers are really getting when they upgrade?

Meeting the demands of today and the challenges of tomorrow

Are systems truly tied together or did stores have to go with a brand new suite under a single provider? You don’t go buy a new car every time you need an oil change and you don’t replace your entire organization’s point of sale, loyalty, supply chain management, and back office systems just because you need it to integrate with another piece of technology.

In today’s connected world, it shouldn’t be this difficult to link, understand, and analyze your data – no matter its origin. Currently, It’s really hard to be really sophisticated. This is where Taiga can help.