Having an App Is Not a Strategy

Retailers need to build a cohesive, digital strategy to capture consumer interest and enhance the shopping experience. 

July 28, 2021

Convenience Matters Episode 294 Cover Image

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Today’s consumer isn’t looking for more apps to clutter their smartphones—they want apps that will make their lives easier while delivering real value. “Today’s experiences are being driven by digitally native companies,” said Sam Herro, director of business development for Hathway, on this week’s Convenience Matters, “Building a Digital Strategy.” A recent Hathway survey found that less than half of the respondents actually use apps, but 84% would if it saved time and money. “Obviously there is a need, and c-stores have an opportunity to fulfill on that need,” Herro said.

Herro pointed out that consumers also expect more than an app—they expect a cross-channel digital experience that includes websites, apps, in-store/at-the-pump kiosks, etc. “What we found [was that] shoppers are really looking for features and capabilities that fell into three categories: convenience, personalization and ease of use,” Herro said. “All of those wrap back into what the c-store industry is trying to accomplish.”

More and more, digital experiences, such as digital payments, coupons and ordering, have become more commonplace in society. “C-stores are starting to take advantage of some of the learnings of other vertical industries to accelerate some of these solutions,” said Matt Carinio, vice president of strategy for Hathway.

What holds convenience retailers on the sidelines of providing a digital experience? “Just like any industry. I think that the first thing is paralysis-analysis,” said Carinio. “One of the challenges in the digital age today is the amount of information both vetted and unvetted that is available. [The sheer volume of information] can become very confusing and can make decisionmakers question their thought process. … Add to that the legacy [component within many c-stores] that is difficult to overcome.”

Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 280 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded more than a quarter million times by listeners around the world.