CTVG Releases Vision Report on AI

The report looks at AI’s impact on convenience retail.

January 16, 2024

The Convenience Technology Vision Group (CTVG) released a Vision Report that addresses the potential impact of generative AI on convenience retailing.

CTVG’s latest quarterly virtual meeting included a presentation by Greg Buzek, founder and president of IHL Group, a global research and advisory firm. Discussions centered around the many opportunities, as well as potential challenges, associated with employing various forms of AI.

The presentation outlined areas where AI is making an impact in different retail sectors, including personalizing customer experiences, inventory visibility and corporate back-office functions.

Attendees highlighted the growing significance of AI in the convenience industry and the nuanced nature of pricing strategies.

Rance Wells, vice president of IT, Toot’n Totum said, “[AI] is definitely a new tool in our toolkit that we're using for all kinds of stuff around the organization. But as far as taking our data and making it actionable, we're still looking to figure out how we're going to do that.”

Jason Collins, director of IT, Englefield Oil, speculated, “I think this entire industry is very early in this process. For a company like ours with 120 stores, an IT staff of five, it's not something we've thought about, hasn't been on the radar.” Collins said that at the company would most likely look to “ERP providers, all the third parties … and bring it to us. And that would be our first jump into AI.”

“It's not going to be in that sizzle or customer-facing stuff that I would focus my efforts. Tackling stuff that's behind the scenes, that's where the biggest benefits are, and you have the greatest opportunity for growing,” said Buzek. Buzek advised larger organizations to explore AI within existing business applications and smaller companies to consider ERP providers and third-party solutions for integration. The discussion also touched on AI governance frameworks and ethical considerations in marketing.

Previous CTVG discussions regarding challenges with point-of-sale systems were also revisited. CTVG members reported that advancing POS technologies within their organizations continues to be a priority, emphasizing the need for strategic approaches and continued dialogue with POS solution providers.