Welcome to our new blog series, where we'll be sharing the news and trends that are shaping the convenience store industry! In this week's Koupon News Update, learn about the effects of Amazon Go on the c-store industry, supermarkets launching small-format stores, and GasBuddy's new mobile fuel payment technology.
C-Store Retailer Trends
7-Eleven & Coca-Cola Hit the World Stage With 2018 FIFA World Cup Promo
- Customers at approximately 61,000 participating 7-Eleven convenience stores in 14 countries will be able to score with exclusive Coca-Cola 2018 FIFA World Cup products, prizes and promotions, available while supplies last.
- "When 7-Eleven first teamed up with Coke for the 2014 World Cup, we had, about 35,000 stores participating. This year, that number is almost double," said Jerome Del Porto, 7-Eleven vice president of international operations. "That's more stores than any other international retailer or restaurant."
- Insight: Two of the worlds largest brands, 7-Eleven and Coca-Cola, are working together to launch an international promotion.
Should the Convenience Channel Be Worried About Amazon Go’s Expansion?
- Amazon continues to be a disruptor in the e-commerce world, and is starting to take the disruption to the brick-and-mortar world with its new checkout-free store concept, Amazon Go, which is poised for expansion. Amazon Go offers convenience store items, but allows customers to shop and walk out of the store without paying a cashier — it’s all done through an app and proprietary technology.
- "Everything they are doing is about logistics," said Gold. "Did they really want to be an owner of Whole Foods because they wanted to be a supermarket chain? They were having difficulty delivering groceries at a profit and they saw Whole Foods as great distribution centers. They wanted to be closer to where the customer lives and works, so that last mile will be cheaper in terms of deliveries."
- Insight: C-store retailers should be watching Amazon Go closely.
Navigating Summer Road Trips
- The top three reasons people stop during summer drives are to use the bathroom (96%), get gas (95%), or buy food or drinks (91%). “There’s only one place that can satisfy all three of the top reasons for stopping during a road trip: a convenience store,” says Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. “From restrooms and fuel pumps to indulgent snacks and healthy options, you can stop once and make everyone happy. And that can certainly make a road trip more fun.”
- In determining where to stop along the drive, consumers cited several factors: convenient location (93%), clean restrooms (89%), fuel prices (87%), a trusted or known brand (76%), fresh food options (70%), a wide selection of beverages (66%) and a wide selection of snacks (66%).
- Many Americans break their normal purchasing habits while on vacation. Travelers indicate that when they are on summer vacation, they are likely to splurge on salty snacks (41%), sweets (36%), and drinks (33%) they don’t normally consume.
- Insight: Travelers are likely to stop for gas and beverages at c-stores during their summer road trips.
GasBuddy Launches Mobile Fuel Payment
- GasBuddy has expanded its Pay With GasBuddy program, partnering with Love’s Travel Stops to allow customers to pay for fuel purchases using their mobile devices. The upgrade allows customers to arm a gas pump at Love’s from inside their car via their smartphones. They can also participate in the Pay With GasBuddy fuel-savings program. After fueling, an e-receipt showing the GasBuddy discount will appear in the app and will also be e-mailed to the customer.
- “Every day, millions of drivers open the GasBuddy app even before turning on their car engine to decide where to buy fuel,” said Sarah McCrary, CEO of GasBuddy. “Our mobile-payments feature enables customer-centric retailers like Love’s to own the entire customer dialogue, from pre-trip to the pump and beyond.”
- Insight: GasBuddy is listening to customers' desires to do more with mobile.
Taming & Mastering the Internet of Things Beast
- IoT presents a unique opportunity in retail to provide transformational consumer experiences by helping retailers understand consumer behaviors both in-store and in-car, according to Robinson. It can help retail employees deliver more personalized customer service, and enable store managers to be more productive and effective. Operations can see a boost with remote asset management and predictive maintenance, along with improved store operations efficiency, the ability to track inventory in real time, and optimized environmental control.
- When devices come online, retailers can easily accomplish a variety of tasks, such as monitoring the corrosion on fuel tanks and discerning what the octane levels are.
In-store, connected sensors can monitor how much syrup is left in a soda machine.
- Insight: C-store retailers should look for ways to leverage the Internet of Things.
What Is the Value of API?
- API is “the way for a machine to talk to another machine,” said Jason Lobel, CEO &
co-founder of SwiftIQ, an analytics solutions provider, who spoke on API at the NACS State of the Industry conference this past April. In other words, API is a connection.
- APIs allow data to be accessed from a system without actually having to pull it out of the system and store it on your own system. The cloud not only allows us to process data anywhere but also to access data quickly from anywhere because of the APIs built in.
- Insight: C-stores should leverage standardized data connections and APIs to increase collaboration between companies in the c-store industry.
Target to Modify Small-Format Stores
- Target is planning three new small-format locations in Seattle, with opening dates of 2019 and 2020. While the retailer has been playing with an urban store concept since 2012, the new stores will be designed for dense suburban and urban areas, the Seattle Times reports. Specifically, the new stores will have tailored merchandise selected for each neighborhood, and all three will offer pickup for online orders. One store in the University District will feature dorm room items, food and beverages, and portable technology items.
- The retailer acquired Shipt last year, adding same-day delivery to its online commerce. Plus, Target has launched a remodeling project for a thousand of its current stores. In April, Target unveiled a new customer loyalty program called Target Red.
- Insight: Target is trying to meet the customer where they are with small-format stores and delivery services.
Albertsons to Test Amazon Go-Like Technology at Pumps & in Stores
- A checkout-free experience could soon be coming to Albertsons, as the grocer has plans to pilot a system similar to Amazon Go's "Just Walk Out" technology.
- Albertsons is not relegating the new technology to just inside its stores. The company intends to roll it out at its gas pumps. The process, to be tested in Boise, will use mobile devices to create a speedy touch-pump-and-go experience.
- Insight: Large format stores are trying to bring convenience to customers.