Welcome to our Koupon News Update series, where we share news and trends that are shaping the convenience store industry! In this week's update, learn about Koupon's new partnership with ZipLine, 7-Eleven's new cashier-less checkout, and blurred lines between c-stores and restaurants.
C-Store Retailer Trends
Koupon Media and ZipLine Partner to Bring Innovative Mobile Solutions to Convenience Stores
- Koupon Media, the leading mobile offer platform and promotion network in convenience, and ZipLine, the leading provider of payment-powered loyalty, have partnered to bring a combined rewards and payment solution to convenience retailers. The partnership creates the first fully-integrated mobile loyalty experience featuring CPG-funded offers, rewards, and payment in a single app.
- "ZipLine's expertise and success in private label payment programs, paired with Koupon- sourced and personalized mobile offers, will create compelling consumer loyalty," said Brad VanOtterloo, President of Koupon. "The retail industry is highly competitive, and both ZipLine and Koupon Media are on a mission to help c-store marketers drive increased sales and loyalty through innovative technology."
- Insight: Integrating Koupon Media's mobile offer capabilities into ZipLine's loyalty solution creates a fully integrated offers and rewards experience for c-stores.
5 Foot-Traffic Takeaways From GasBuddy’s 3rd-Quarter Report
- Nearly half (45%) of consumers spent five minutes or less at every convenience-store or gas-station visit during this year’s third quarter, according to mobile app GasBuddy’s recent analysis of foot traffic in the c-store industry. Thirty percent of customers spent five to 10 minutes, 12% spent 10-15 minutes and 14% spent at least 15 minutes.
- With a footfall ratio of 2.38, Speedway finished atop the rankings for stores with at least 1,000 locations. Arco and Circle K placed second and third with ratios of 1.84 and 1.45, respectively. Costco dominated the rankings for brands with 250 to 999 locations. Thorntons placed first among stores with 50 to 249 locations with a ratio of 4.06.
- Insight: High quality c-stores with strong loyalty programs and innovative products have higher foot traffic.
7-Eleven starts experimenting with cashier-less checkouts
- 7-Eleven announced today that it’s installing scan-and-go technology in 14 Dallas-based stores this week, according to Digiday. The technology will allow customers to scan the barcodes of items they want to buy and then pay through their phone, either with a card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
- The company plans to expand the service beyond Dallas in 2019, according to TechCrunch. Still, it’s clear that 7-Eleven is thinking about how to compete with Amazon and its Go Stores that are designed to be cashier-less. It’s all happening fairly quickly, so get used to seeing this type of technology everywhere soon.
- Insight: The country's largest chains are starting to explore cashier-less checkout solutions due to the buzz around Amazon Go and Skip.
The C-Store Robot Revolution
- As robotics and AI become more sophisticated, they will play a growing role in delivery, through drones. But these will likely not be the flying variety. Gray Taylor, executive director of tech standards group Conexxus, Alexandria, Va., says the real future is in terrestrial drones, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from sidewalk-bound rolling coolers from London-based Starship Technologies to the almost sedan-size delivery vehicles from Nuro, Mountain View, Calif., which Cincinnati-based Kroger has tapped for its same-day delivery test.
- The forces that will forever alter the retail landscape will also alter our society. Taylor says we are approaching a world in which AI engines predict our needs and make purchases for us. He points to Google’s Psychic Pizza project, which would, for example, automatically deliver a soda to a customer while they are having a pizza, knowing that said customer enjoys a soda with their pizza.
- Insight: Robots are going to drastically change the way that convenience stores operate in the coming years.
8 retailers that could go bankrupt in the next year
- The bankruptcies have slowed this year compared to 2017, but they haven't stopped. In October, one of the biggest players in the mattress space filed for bankruptcy, with plans to close 700 stores. While Mattress Firm's Chapter 11 wasn't altogether surprising, given the competitive mattress category and the stagnant pace of change at traditional retailers, it did hint at a larger theme in retail: of younger, disruptive brands breaking the mold and making traditional players think on their toes.
- With those major retail bankruptcies as a backdrop, we're looking again at who in the industry might be vulnerable in a world that keeps shifting.
- Insight: The retail landscape is changing — large format retailers are at risk as convenience stores remain secure.
Restaurants Blur Lines With In-House C-Stores and Grocers
- Grocery and convenience stores are posing mounting competition to restaurants, with an influx in prepared foods, grab-and-go meals and fast casual restaurants within the retail stores themselves. And a number of operators are fighting back against those blurred lines by creating some restaurant-retail mashups of their own.
- In response, grocery stores and other retail concepts are upping their foodservice game. Amazon Go, for example, is trading on convenience for time-pressed, tech-savvy consumers by focusing on grab-and-go fresh prepared foods with its totally frictionless store. And Whole Foods is well-known for incubating emerging fast-casual concepts in its stores.
- Insight: Grocery and other retail concepts are reacting to the increasing food service quality at convenience stores.