Technology Provides Tools for the Future of Retailing

Photograph: Shutterstock

The pandemic has changed the way consumers shop, and unlocking the full sales and profit potential of the next normal will require new ways of doing business.

Now more than ever, convenience store retailers need to invest in opportunities to drive revenues, whether through loyalty programs, cross-promotion between departments or upselling within the various areas of the store. And margins will remain constrained amid a weakened economy and ongoing competitive pressures, forcing retailers to find efficiencies in their business models.

Technologies including digital signage, Wi-Fi analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) can help retailers achieve all of these goals, while at the same time enhancing the shopping experience for customers.

Digital signage drives shopping occasions, purchases

Digital signage, for example, enables retailers to efficiently communicate information at various touchpoints which can help drive sales throughout the operation. Signs at the pumps can be used to promote grab-and-go food and beverages and drive shoppers into the store, while inside the store, digital signage can be used to display foodservice menu items and encourage food-and-beverage combos to drive higher rings. In-store digital signs can drive sales gains as much as 33%, according to a Nielsen Consumer Survey.

Digital signs also can be used throughout the store to promote loyalty program sign-ups or to promote loyalty deals, such as discounts at the gas pump or car wash.

Behind the counter, digital signage can alert employees to the arrival of click-and-collect or curbside pickup customers, an increasingly important customer segment that retailers need to embrace.

The restaurant industry has been adopting digital menu boards and signage at a rapid pace to enhance the ordering process both in-store and in the drive-thru lanes. One study showed that digital boards can increase the average value of orders by 2.5%, and the conversion rate on promotional items by 2%.

When combined with loyalty programs and analytics, these technologies can be used to create a highly personalized experience, while minimizing labor requirements.

Loyalty and data analytics personalize interactions and promotions

Retailers can use loyalty data and analytics to suggest menu items based on past orders, for example, or to welcome customers at the pumps with their preferred fuel type, language and entertainment selection. Digital signs can also easily transition to highlight different menus and food items throughout the day.

Guest Wi-Fi connectivity is another important technology that can help retailers further enhance the customer experience through captive portals and location analytics, while at the same time connecting shoppers to the store.

Meanwhile, IoT technology also promises to unlock efficiencies in store operations, which has become critical to success in the c-store industry amid declining revenues.

Sensors can alert staff to restock restroom supplies or empty trash bins, and can also be used to monitor various equipment, including coffee makers, cooler cases and soda fountains. Managers and employees can monitor shelf conditions using IoT sensors to prevent lost sales due to out-of-stock items.

From the curbside to the car wash to the cooler cases, the technology trifecta of digital signage, Wi-Fi and IoT provide the tools retailers need to optimize the customer experience, drive increased sales, and minimize operating costs. 

With SageNet as a technology partner, c-store retailers can reap the rewards of this new era of retailing while providing their customers with enhanced, personalized service.

This post is sponsored by SageNet

Want breaking news at your fingertips?

Get today’s need-to-know convenience industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from CSP on news and insights that matter to your brand.