This year, through our attendance at NACS State of the Industry, the Conexxus Annual Conference and our own Summit 2017, Pinnacle gained valuable insight into what the coming year and beyond will hold for our industry and the economy as a whole. We learned about how consumers are changing how they interact with retailers and how the online experience has moved into the stores themselves. We discovered how the new ‘mobile millennial’ is bringing new technology and innovations to the market – and changing the way promotions are effective. Additionally, new security threats, payment challenges and the labor ‘crunch’ are playing a crucial role in how Pinnacle meets and exceeds the needs of our industry- and innovates for the future.
As of 2017, mobile traffic has grown more than 13 times in five years. The convenience store customer is busier and needing faster service than ever- while also expecting more detailed, friendly and personalized service. Always connected via mobile device, the new consumer has near unlimited information at his/her fingertips- the ability to check prices, nearby offerings, and more- within seconds. This information, though powerful, can also be overwhelming and consumers are looking for ways to simplify their information intake with informative, personalized promotions.
The new consumer is leading the sales process. Most purchases have been researched ahead of time or during the store visit via mobile, compared and contrasted with other retailers or online resources, and a value has been determined. That value is not necessarily determined on price- the new consumer factors in new expectations to their decision making process. What kind of shopping experience can one expect (Is the environment clean? The service personalized?)? Is the store culture similar to the customers’ (Do they promote local growers/craftsmen? Do they use only organic products?)? These are questions beyond cost- and translate to customer loyalty.
Through training and incentivizes, your team can suggest, promote and engage in the selling process- upping the profit for each transaction. Two-thirds of consumers are more likely to shop in a store where they receive personal suggestions while shopping. By having staff that know their customers and know the promotions and inventory the store is carrying, they can make significant profit contributions during the checkout process. Customers who feel they are engaged in the sales process and receive a more personalized experience- including targeted sales of promotional items of their interest- are more loyal and more apt to return.
Studies show 80 percent of shoppers say they’re more likely to shop in a store that provides a customized experience for them. Three-fourths say they’d enjoy checkout more if they received personalized coupons at checkout.
Targeted store loyalty programs allow retailers to deliver personalized offers via mobile app and/or at the point of sale during checkout. You can also personalize offers outside the in-store experience. By understanding how a customer shops, you can send emails, promotions, texts and more that advertise specials that appeal to them directly from previous shopping experiences and purchases.
Pinnacle continues to look ahead and the opportunities that the future presents- both for the convenience store industry and our company, but also to the technological advances and abilities that are to come. We are excited to be at the lead in innovation and how our industry engages with their customers, protects their customers and continues to be the center of community now and into the future.