CORONADO, Calif.—Continuing this year’s theme of innovation and technology solutions, the second day of the 2023 Conexxus Annual Conference included education sessions with retailers and technology experts about how they are facing some of the challenges in the convenience industry. Not only were attendees able to gain valuable information and learnings from their peers, but they were also able to attend Conexxus committee and working group meetings to see firsthand how Conexxus tackles the most pressing needs for industry standards and guidance on critical issues.
In the education session “Self-Checkout: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” panelists from four leading convenience retailers—Coen Markets, Friendly Express, Parkland USA and Couche-Tard/Circle K—shared their experiences in implementing self-checkout technology in their stores, discussed the types of solutions they are using in these locations and provided insight into how this innovation changed the culture within their companies. The panelists also shared how their customers reacted to this change, including examples of initial hesitancy and a few negative reactions but the eventual acceptance and embrace of the new experience. Employee interaction with the consumer and a high level of customer service was a critical element to implementing self-checkout, in addition to logistical and technological strategies.
“Edge Computing: The Solution Blueprint for Supporting Legacy Operations & Modern Architectures at Scale” was presented by Phil Stead with Acumera. With convenience retailers experiencing an ever-increasing tech stack, including both legacy architecture inside the store and at the forecourt, increasing digital content, IoT deployments and next generation ML/AI-based system delivery, current legacy infrastructure and tools can’t keep up with the increased needs. Stead shared how retailers can develop a decision criteria and justification for advancing to edge computing architecture and some of the major integration points, including where edge computing unlocks value and where your c-store IT team’s resources and time are best utilized. With such a complex vendor landscape that is wide and varied, Stead shared how to develop a path forward so c-stores can recognize immediate gains from an operations perspective and return-on-investment perspective.
How to manage and leverage technologies, data and diverse payment options was the focus of the panel discussion “Are You Ready to Leapfrog Yourself? Innovating Through Strategy.” Panelists from W. Capra Consulting Group and Impact 21 shared stories with attendees on how retailers are disrupting their current states to make way for future customer experience and close the gap on the customer journey. Utilizing a roadmap for innovation and a strategy to transition from old architectures to new technology solutions were just a few examples discussed.
Conexxus utilizes and leverages the experience and talents of its diverse group of members to work on technology issues facing the industry. Whether developing a standard for point-of-sales systems, mobile payments or payments security compliance or creating a document with best practices or guidance on creating a privacy or data security policy, the committees and working groups play a critical role in this process to help the industry. Beginning on day two and through the remainder of the conference, these committees and working groups will meet to finalize or continue to work in current projects and prioritize future projects.
Don’t miss out on joining your peers at Conexxus. If you have any questions about Conexxus, it’s future events or joining a committee, please reach out to Linda Toth, managing director of Conexxus, at firstname.lastname@example.org.