ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Three retailers shared tips for success and hurdles to avoid when considering technology adoption and today’s changing consumers.
The panel—moderated by Mark Budreski, vice president of sales and business development for Philadelphia-based retail tech firm Stuzo, during CSP’s 2019 Outlook Leadership conference—covered third-party delivery, the pros and cons of frictionless checkout, big data and more.
Click through for tech insights from these three major retailers …
Pictured: Mark Budreski (from left), Stuart Sullivan, Anthony Miller and Mark Meisner
Find the right partner
Kwik Trip has partnered with Eat Street, an online food delivery company based in Madison, Wis., for third-party delivery. “You’ve got to find the right partner,” said Mark Meisner, director of marketing and advertising.
Kwik Trip started its partnership with Eat Street in La Crosse, Wis., and the chain recently began offering delivery at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Meisner said partnering with a local delivery company was a good strategy for Kwik Trip, which is the grocery stores for many of its communities.
QuikTrip is a “prudent follower” when it comes to technology adoption, said Stuart Sullivan, the company's vice president and chief financial officer. Frictionless checkout technology has the potential to create more efficiency and better speed of service, he said, but it’s important to consider customer confusion and the effort it takes to retrain customers.
“It’s about execution,” he said.
Big on data
Alon is a “conservative adopter” when it comes to technology, said Anthony Miller, president of Alon Brands and executive vice president of Delek U.S. Holdings. Delek U.S. purchased Alon, previously the largest 7-Eleven licensee, in July 2017. Miller said he believes in the power of data to inform his decision-making and efficiency. Data can save time when he reviews underperforming stores because he can look up store data and know what’s wrong before he arrives for a visit, he said.
This attention to detail is key in today’s hypercompetitive market, he said. “We’re getting hit from all directions, and it’s not just the convenience store across the street,” said Miller.
Accept that change is coming
Meisner of Kwik Trip—who as a consumer does not use order-ahead mobile apps—recently sat down at a Starbucks and watched Gen Z consumers pick up their mobile orders without talking to anyone behind the counter. “If I made decisions based on how I buy and how I shop, I would do a tremendous disservice to my company,” he said.
He described Kwik Trip’s young marketing team as an asset in changing times. “Our consumers are changing,” he said. “They just are.”