According to the 2015 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count, convenience stores now account for almost 34% of all retail outlets in the United States - with the vast majority offering a combination of convenience shopping and fuel. Customers frequenting these C-Stores are among the most time-sensitive of consumers: likely to be on the move and mobile, unlikely to be interested in browsing or extended shopping trips. Making mobile an integral part of the marketing strategy helps C-Stores reach people while they’re nearby and makes it easier to create valuable repeat customers who may otherwise only have stopped in to fill their gas tank or pick up a pint of milk. The key to building a more convenient future is to streamline service, automate as much as possible and use connectivity - as and where it makes sense - to provide additional utility. And with 'convenience' in the actual store name, you know customers are going enter into this relationship with high expectations. Don't let them down!
Meeting the C-Store personalization challenge
Because of the greater immediacy involved in convenience shopping (customers want something very specific, and they want it now - miss that window and you lose the sale), convenience stores can get a lot of mileage out of the real-time data that can be collected from mobile and connected devices. Contextual information like location, travel speed, weather and time of day are critical for personalizing messages to customers who have very little time to make the decision to engage. Connected tech can be used to reinforce messaging over multiple media: on phones, digital signage, in-store kiosks and more, encouraging customers to venture beyond the forecourt or add more to their basket.
Opportunities for behavior change & VIP experiences
Mobile and connected tech can be used to turn casual customers into committed customers by encouraging them to return more often, or incentivizing them to try something new. Time is the important factor - 90% C-Store mobile searches result in purchase; 35% immediately, 66% within an hour:
- Encourage future visits by allowing customers to use mobile devices to lock inpromoted gas prices now and redeem at their convenience.
- Become a one-stop shop for people on the move: explore in-store WiFi, lockers for delivery of online purchases , online bill payment and registration, mobile loyalty and pump-side checkout via QR code or NFC.
- Target promotions across your range depending on customer preferences: CPGs, food to go, beverages, fuel and add on services. Push up- and cross-sell offers to increase the value of individual customers.
- Use connected signage at the roadside to promote offers to passing motorists, and reinforce messaging with forecourt and in-store material. Collect data on which promotions result in what customer visits by tracking mobile devices.
For more inspiration on using connected tech to build better C-Store experiences into the future, check out what the industry's been up to:
7-Eleven is using mobile to create customer loyalty through personalized experiences rewarding repeat visits.
Earlier in 2015 Wawa released a combined mobile payment and loyalty app, rewarding users for in-store purchases while encouraging sharing of that all-important contextual mobile data.