The lines between amobile phone app experience, non-phone (tablet) app experience, and the desktop internet browser experience have blurred so much there really is no difference in this day and age.
The evolution of any leading edge technology is a learning experience for all, but how it evolves and the challenges created for the convenience retail space can truly affect your profit margins and standing with competitors. In few catagories is it more true than in smartphone technology- particularly mobile apps. Below we chart the evolution of the app experience for retailers- and the challenges and opportunities they create.
Mobile Apps aren’t a new thing at all by way of definition, albeit what we consider a mobile app in 2015 is nothing like its predecessors. The Palm PDA, the TREO, the Blackberry, all mobile devices of the early-90’s that can lay stakes as the pioneers of the mobile app. Their features were indeed limited by today’s standards; compiled applications that were fully contained on the device with no need to communicate to a host, or severely limited due to pre-GSM data networks.
You are likely to hear about new and innovative mobile payment options. Mobile payments are all over the news, and are now being advertised at many national retail stores. Loyalty programs are adding mobile options, and you may start to wonder: Should you jump on the bandwagon? That depends on how mobile fits into your overall strategy. At the very least, you need some facts to make an informed decision. With so many options, and such a diverse landscape of mobile platforms, the choices can be inundating. All of these may be appealing to you for different reasons, and you may want to consider implementing one or more of them in your business.
We live in a mobile world. Bank accounts, shopping, directions to a new restaurant, car services and even your social network all rest in the palm of your hand. Shouldn’t you have the same ability to manage your business while on-the-go, and integrate your work life with your mobile life? Pinnacle’s Mobile Platform provides all of the configuration and management tools you need to get started with your own branded mobile app, eliminating the time and expense of going through a third party.
Millennials – Who Are They? If you are like most retailers, you invest a lot of time and money in building a loyal customer base, and as part of that effort you are trying to understand and target the up and coming Millennial generation. Millennials are typically defined as those born between 1980 and 2000, although some studies make them a bit older or younger. This means they range in age from teenagers to early 30-somethings. This group is subject of many studies and are on pace to be the most studied demographic in history, behind the Boomers who have been studied for decades. Everyone is trying to figure them out. Why? According to a 2012 study this group already represents $200 billion of direct purchasing power and has influence over $500 billion of indirect spending, primarily because teens and young adults who are living at home influence the purchasing habits of their Baby Boomer parents (source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation). Since the youngest members of the group are yet to enter the workforce, the prime earning timeframe for this group is still years away, which means collectively the group represents an important part of our future economy and cannot be ignored. Millennials’ annual spending is expected to reach $2.45 trillion by 2015 (source: Deloitte). Clearly understanding and finding ways to appeal to this important demographic deserves a closer look.
With over 700 stores in 11 states, there is a decent chance QT is in your neighborhood. They have a familiar name, their customer base is large, and their customers and employees love them. They, or someone like them, are very likely your competitor, and you have to figure out how to beat them at their own game. What is their game? Their pricing is good, but your pricing is competitive. The merchandise and foodservice they sell is comparable to yours. They have a loyalty program, but you may have a loyalty program as well.
Being competitive in the c-store industry requires attention to all areas of the business. Keeping store managers and area managers well informed of store and company performance empowers them to keep their stores in better running order. In other words, being competitive as a company starts at the store level.
Perhaps you’ve been in a large metropolitan area, close to an event that is just letting out, only to see millennials on the sidewalk on their smartphones. Chances are, they’re waiting for an Uber or a Lyft, the two most popular ridesharing companies in the country. Those in the 16-34 age range who live in metropolitan areas are the most frequent ridesharing users. What do their habits mean for c-store owners, in particular, their means of payment and ridesharing habits?