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Digital Transformation: Top 10 Terms Defining the Future of C-stores

There has been a lot of discussion about the digital transformation of retail, and yet the concept is so all-encompassing that it can be a challenge to keep track of what it really means, where you are in the journey and how it directly applies to your business.

Aperion and EnsembleIQ have partnered to research how digital transformation is shaping retail and how we as an industry can form a common lexicon to identify best practices and share our successes. The full Retail Digital Transformation Glossary is available for download; however, these are the top 10 terms defining the future of c-stores:


AI (artificial intelligence) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction. Applications of AI include expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision. AI-enabled retail is used by retail stores.


Massive, complex sets of data that require sophisticated software programs. The data can be behavior-based (clicks, open rates, time spent on site), demographic (census information, income), social information (tweets, shares), timing and more.


Decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger used to record transactions across many computers, so the record cannot be altered retroactively without altering all subsequent blocks. Blockchain can help keep track of consumer data by storing and validating it, and through the use of smart contract logic designed to trigger actions when certain requirements are met.


Analytics tool that records all activities of a user to provide data that could be utilized to analyze the trends and create actionable insights.


Computing that relies on shared computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.


Technology used with a POS system to help customers search stock levels, find specific items and view pricing through self-service kiosks or devices such as tablets.


Field of predictive analytics that tries to understand and predict customer demand to optimize supply decisions by corporate supply chain and business management.


Evolution of the retail experience through integration of a wide range of technologies including, but not limited to, interactive signage, camera/bar code smartphone app-based ordering for out-of-stock or bulk items, personalized in-store messaging, smart fitting rooms, RFID deployed at item level, biometric payment authentication, and RFID-based whole-trolley/basket checkout.


Concept of getting objects such as cars or household appliances to talk to each other via the internet.


Mobile application that allows a customer to order goods and services and pay in cash after delivery, or pay in advance through a payment gateway.

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