Making Money with Technology, Part 4
Almost every c-store operator we speak with is facing significant labor issues. They are short staffed, their cost of hiring has increased, and they cannot find enough good applicants. These stressors push work up the organizational ladder. As a result, directors, officers, and managers are being asked to roll up their sleeves and take on additional responsibilities. While we at Taiga can’t solve the labor problem, our business intelligence tools can ease the burden by helping you reduce complexity, increase flexibility, and streamline efficiencies through remote operations.
To be clear, we’re not talking about Zoom meetings, we’re talking about technology that enables you to operate your c-store chain effectively, efficiently, and reliably without being present in your stores.
The ability to remote manage your stores begins with the ability to obtain, process, and assess the data from your stores in real-time. Every store generates mountains of data ranging from your fuel inventory to the number of breakfast sandwiches that were sold between 7AM and 10AM this morning. Most small and mid-sized c-store chains have come to rely on back-office accounting to provide visibility into store performance. Unfortunately, back office systems lack the granular, real-time, operational analysis that c-store operators need to monitor performance and pinpoint issues from a distance.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure
Over the last year, Taiga has had the pleasure to see how our customers have grown and adapted using real-time analysis in StoreKeep despite the market headwinds. Here are three examples of how our clients are using StoreKeep’s real-time capabilities to improve store performance, reduce staffing burdens, and operate from a distance.
- Take the Guesswork of Price Increases – StoreKeep users adjust prices in a single store or a small number of stores and track the results in real-time before rolling out changes across their chain. They can monitor sales volume, margin, basket size, basket margin and more in real-time as they watch their customers respond to the price adjustments. This allows stores to increase profit margins through right-sizing the price to the local market customer leading to increased revenue across stores and chains.
- Determine whether Lines are Forming at the Register – StoreKeep users are able to compare current store traffic patterns at the pump and inside at each register. This real-time quality-of service information allows management to make sure employees are properly staffing the registers. In addition, because StoreKeep is identifying your busy times, you are able to staff your stores correctly. In this tight labor market you want to make sure that you are covered when a store is busy and not overstaffed when a store is quiet. StoreKeep recognizes that each store is unique and a “one size fits all” approach will not work.
- Track Competitive Fuel Pricing – StoreKeep uses data that’s updated every hour from over 140,000 gas stations to provide you visibility into the prices of your competitors. You identify certain thresholds and receive alerts when the difference is outside these values. Our clients use this functionality particularly to avoid major impacts to their business that could have been caused by employee errors when adjusting prices. This means that you won’t be advertising your gas for $9.12 when your new store clerk meant to type in $2.19. In addition to making sure that you are in parity and that there are not any manual errors, operators have the ability to make sure that prices have been updated in a timely manner when directed by corporate. This simple checks and balances system has increased revenue, decreased errors, and saved our clients countless headaches.
These are just a few examples of how Business Intelligence and StoreKeep can analyze mountains of data and turn it into insights that you can use to operate more efficiently and take pressure off of your lean staff. With real-time insight, your team can focus on the issues that need attention before they become costly problems. Thanks to the StoreKeep capabilities, we have clients who have gained such confidence in their ability to manage remotely that they made acquisitions outside their traditional geographic footprint without adding additional management. StoreKeep is all about you being able to keep an eye on your stores without being in your stores.
Still thinking Business Intelligence is out of reach for your business? The StoreKeep system can be installed at a chain of 20 stores in less than 60 days and it costs less than one full time associate.