Critical Gaps in Mobile App Strategies Limiting the Convenience Channel

Innovative technology is required for c-stores to win in today's competitive environment, according to industry insiders.
Mobile App

ST. LOUIS — Tomorrow's cutting-edge technologies will require robust mobile apps for convenience stores to move forward, according to a new report from app platform Rovertown, which empowers the mobile experience for regional convenience retailers.

Its recently published study, The Dawning of the Digital Convenience Store, uncovers strategic gaps in mobile app strategies that have limited many brands' ability to innovate.

"Now is the time for retailers to seriously think about what they need from their mobile apps moving forward," said Jeffry Harrison, co-founder and president of Rovertown. "Apps will be the connection point for the technology integrations that retailers turn to in order to enhance both the physical and digital customer experience. Convenience stores are experiencing their greatest opportunity ever with the dawning of app platforms."

According to the study, convenience stores were once the gold standard of convenience, but it takes more than proximity through real estate to win in today's competitive environment. Consumers now have more options than ever to get what they want, when they want it, and on their own terms.

In order to thrive in a world where instant gratification solutions make it possible to avoid stores altogether — and where headwinds in fuel demand threaten to reduce foot traffic — convenience stores must redefine what convenience means in an always-connected world. 

Foodservice-focused convenience store retailers in particular must pursue technological innovation if they want to come out on top, as recently reported by Convenience Store News. To succeed in foodservice today, c-store retailers must set the intersection of foodservice and technology as their destination.

Key highlights of the Rovertown study include:

  • The pandemic revealed a strategic gap in convenience stores' mobile app strategies. Despite widespread deployment of mobile apps in the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, many retailers' apps lacked the functionality to serve customers who were suddenly fearful of shopping inside a physical store. Brands like Domino's were prepared, however, having invested in digital commerce and delivery infrastructure during the prior decade.
  • Mobile apps must be relevant beyond narrow use cases. Consumers' smartphones are coveted real estate, and retailers have to compete with powerful, compelling apps from brands such as Chick-fil-A and Starbucks. Tailoring apps only around narrow use cases — such as loyalty programs or fuel payments — limits their appeal and relevance.
  • Tomorrow's technology requires robust mobile apps. From autonomous checkout to delivery, job recruiting, mobile ordering, made-to-order menu customization, e-commerce, subscription programs and more, mobile apps will be a crucial interface that tomorrow's customers will rely on as they interact with convenience retailers both on- and off-premise.
  • App platforms will be the Shopify solution for convenience retail. Just as merchants can easily harness the Shopify platform to compete with Amazon, convenience retailers of all sizes need the ability to quickly deploy mobile apps that meet the standards set by big brands like Chick-fil-A and 7-Eleven. While convenience retail has lacked a Shopify solution and been limited to a choice between low-quality white-label apps or expensive custom apps, the recent introduction of app platforms has opened new opportunities to brands that aren't served by either side of the existing solutions. 

To download a copy of the full The Dawning of the Digital Convenience Store, report, click here

Founded in 2009, Rovertown is designed for retailers looking to connect with their consumers in an always-on world. Rovertown's app platform provides flexibility to deliver personalized, meaningful experiences.