How Automation Software Helps Retailers Stay Competitive and Compliant

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Convenience store operators have a lot of things to juggle—from ensuring they have the right balance of snacks and drinks on the shelves to keeping abreast of tobacco regulations to ensuring they’re offering the right mix of fuels on the forecourt.

Another aspect businesses have to stay on top of is fuel taxes. With a volatile fuel industry, retailers need to find ways to remain competitive and compliant, and one way is to use automation software that is designed to streamline tax reporting processes and maximize profits through price optimization.

In fact, automation via software can help with an array of tasks, from inventory to point of sale and more, allowing c-store operators to import and export data—and analyze it—with accuracy and speed. Here’s a few ways automation can help.

Government reporting

The list of rules governing taxes is long and complicated. Petroleum retailers have to keep up with how and when taxes should be calculated, what products are taxable, if there are exceptions, and who is subject to the tax. And those are just the basics. 

Local and federal tax changes can cause big problems for stores, as customers may choose to go to a different county, town or even state to fill up their tanks and avoid high prices. For petroleum retailers in multiple markets across the country, the risk of misreporting taxes to the government is significant —and there are big costs involved in making mistakes. Hiring a CPA can help alleviate these risks, but it puts the onus on a person—and without automated processes, there’s still room for human error. Instead, using automation software that handles different tax rates across cities, counties and states helps ensure to the right taxes are paid for each location.

Price fluctuation and leaving profit up to chance

As tax laws change and crude oil prices change, along with weather fluctuations and other factors including holidays and more, stores must adjust their gasoline prices to ensure they’re earning enough money to not just break even but turn a profit. By leaving fuel pricing up to chance, c-store owners put themselves at risk of financial loss—and prolonged financial loss can lead to store closure.

Retailers who instead proactively use software that marries marketing insights, analytics and network planning to come up with a sound strategy for revenue growth, including B2B and B2C pricing, ensure that their businesses not only survive tax hikes and oil pricing changes, but thrive throughout those changes. Based on market trends and analytics, gasoline prices can be adjusted not only to remain competitive with other retailers, but also to remain appealing to consumers, who are ultimately looking for the lowest-priced fuel.

From taxes to pricing, enterprise software designed to automate critical aspects of a retailer’s business provides the edge they need to stay competitive, while also ensuring they’re keeping up with government and local regulations.

This post is sponsored by PDI