6 Tech Tips From the Pinnacle Summit

Jackson Lewis, Associate Editor

Technology graphic

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Pinnacle Corp. recently hosted its Summit 2017 conference to provide attendees with industry technology updates and new information on its products.

Aside from updates about Arlington, Texas-based Pinnacle, much of the conference focused on the speakers’ visions of the future and the change convenience-store operators should expect across a wide range of industry topics, from loyalty to mobile ordering and the very idea of convenience.

Here are six insights from the Pinnacle Summit …

1. Get rolling with EMV


In a presentation on preventing fraud, Pinnacle developer Troy Jones warned attendees that retailers who delay EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chip-technology integration at the pump could be inviting bad actors to take advantage of them with fraudulent credit cards or banking information.

“As EMV is rolled out, fraudsters will target stores who have not made the switch to EMV,” Jones said. The message is clear: The longer c-store operators put off switching their pumps to EMV, the bigger the target on their backs.

2. Out-innovated


Gray Taylor, executive director of technology standards group Conexxus, started a presentation on the second day of the conference by defining convenience as the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty. He said retailers should focus on making this definition a reality instead of focusing on the products.

Taylor also underscored keeping an eye on industry disruptors such as Amazon, goPuff and Couch Potato, delivery services that are elbowing their way into the retail convenience game. “Everyone in the convenience space is out-innovating us,” Taylor said, urging attendees to “constantly redefine convenience” to catch up.

3. Plastic-free world

Pinnacle’s Affiniti

The president of Triple S Oil and Lynch Oil, Nick Lynch, revealed a company goal when he took attendees through his rollout of Pinnacle’s Affiniti mobile loyalty app. “We’d like to try to get rid of [loyalty] cards one day,” he said.

Specifically, he’s looking at a future in which physical loyalty cards are no longer in use and their data is stored on smartphones or wearables instead. The Affiniti loyalty app is capable of storing a card on the app so customers don’t have to physically carry it, allowing Lynch to test what cardless loyalty would look like. With more physical cards being loaded onto phones through apps such as ApplePay and Venmo, Lynch’s vision of the future is already becoming a reality.

4. Siri, order a breakfast burrito


Peter Steele, vice president of research for Pinnacle Corp., took attendees through some of the technology company's programs in development, including mobile ordering capabilities on Pinnacle’s Affiniti mobile platform. He said future mobile ordering updates on the app could interact with consumers via three broad options:

  • A traditional “button” user interface
  • Chatbot ordering through apps such as Facebook Messenger
  • Voice ordering similar to speaking with Apple’s Siri

Steele said Pinnacle has the technology to develop whichever system retailers prefer.

5. Where every chatbot knows your name

Mobile loyalty

Mike Kemp, professional services consultant, and Denis Witanra, lead developer, both of Pinnacle Corp., shared their vision for the future of loyalty programs in a presentation outlining changes to the company’s consumer-facing mobile app. They envision future mobile-based loyalty programs that closely track spending and behavioral patterns of customers to offer them more personalized deals and discounts.

“The future of loyalty is web-based with shopper-intelligence-based promotions and advanced notifications on birthdays and other events,” said Witanra. They also discussed future updates such as promotions that pop up after customers have not visited the store in a given number of days or those that suggest common item purchases.

6. Leadership + management = accountability

Good management

Guest speaker Jeff Whittle, founder of Whittle & Partners, took a break from technology to talk about smart management practices.

Whittle spoke about the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a way of doing business designed to build a truly accountable team. The management system looks at accountability not as something that managers do to their employees or hold over them but as something leaders facilitate in the company’s culture by providing a clear goal and vision for the company. Whittle suggested attendees read the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman for more information on the model.

The Pinnacle Summit 2017 was held May 31-June 1 in Arlington, Texas.