C-Stores Eye Upgrades to Customer Loyalty Tech

Opportunity lies for c-stores to implement new tech—and they’re open to it.

September 09, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Thirty-nine percent of convenience stores want to upgrade their customer loyalty programs and improve staff productivity through technology, according to a survey by Zynstra. Upselling customers is a big focus, and IT departments are working on it as they overcome challenges and strive to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

A 2018 NACS report found that 45% of shoppers leave the store with their purchase in three minutes, and 65% of shoppers who frequently go to convenience stores indicated that they would be interested in technologies that would let them pay for purchases instantly or skip checkout lines.

C-stores are more than open to making changes to further improve customer experiences. Ninety-six percent of c-store directors and IT managers said that they would implement new applications and services if it were easier to do so, according to Zynstra. Retail Dive shares that 43% want to introduce scan-and-go tech and mobile app payments, while 42% want to implement buy online and pick up in-stores options.

Yet, there are certainly challenges to applying these new tools. Among the top IT challenges that c-stores face, 47% say the high cost of regulatory compliance and security protocols are top challenge. And 35% cite the inability to handle lines during peak trading hours in high season as difficult, as well as the inability to push promotions across various touchpoints in-store and at the pump.

Still, upgrades are happening and the move toward upgraded tech continues. 7-Eleven is the latest to make moves in the space by adding mobile checkout to its New York City locations last month. The chain has already added Apple Pay and Google pay to U.S. stores as well.