Embracing the Digital Era to Drive In-Store Traffic

Finding points of disruption is key to bringing in customers.
Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
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Digital open sign

NATIONAL REPORT — Moving consumers from the street into a convenience store has always been a challenge, even before the COVID-19 pandemic added another obstacle. However, there are steps retailers can take to drive in-store traffic.

In fact, there are three key pillars to converting street traffic into customer traffic, as discussed during a recent Convenience Store News webinar entitled "How to Drive In-Store Traffic with Forecourt Digital Signage," sponsored by Samsung. They are: 

  1. Capture attention on the street by utilizing displays to drive in-store foot traffic.
  2. Drive awareness from outside the store by messaging where your customers are, with LED displays at the pump and above the door.
  3. Utilize a complete content management solution that ties everything together to create a comprehensive customer journey.

The era of digitalization is here, according to webinar speaker Johan Thio, senior sales executive for Samsung Electronics of America — Display Division.

Driving traffic into the store has been a hot topic in the industry for years, Thio pointed out, and one solution has been to place signs on the fuel pumps and on the store windows. However, placing multiple signs creates a signage bottleneck.

"A beauty of the era of digitalization is that you can change content immediately and have more cross-promos to sell anything immediately," Thio said during the webinar, adding that digitalization allows retailers to promote the right item to the right customer at the right place.

Bringing signage into the digital space also creates multiple touchpoints: the gas pumps, the store windows, the store entrance, etc.

"This has been underutilized for a long time," Thio said. "Typically, you have a fuel price sign and a static message. How do we change that?"

One retailer tapping into digital tools is Circle K. As Circle K transformed into the global brand of Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the company began to focus on customer segments and the customer journey, both online and offline, around the entire path to purchase, explained Todd Isaacs, head of global digital products at Circle K.

Now, as Circle K seeks to make an emotional connection with its guests, the retailer is leading with customer insights, Isaacs said, noting that the global pandemic forced the c-store retailer to look at its business differently.

"We are starting to look at the whole customer journey and differentiating points of interruption with the customer," he said. "Our focus is digital media onsite, as well as online."

Onsite, the points of interruption include:

  • Digital signage at the street;
  • Digital out-of-home advertising at the fuel dispenser, across the United States; and
  • Proprietary digital platforms inside all the Circle K stores in North America.

According to Isaacs, Circle K is now teaming up with Samsung to pilot digital screens to replace static window signage.

"Why is traffic coming to Circle K? The emotional tie," Isaacs said. "Digital screens add to that wow factor."

Retailers already have the space. Digital signage can help them stand out and get noticed. The key, said Thio, is to attract the customer on the street who is seeing multiple brands at once.

An on-demand replay of "How to Drive In-Store Traffic with Forecourt Digital Signage" is available here.

About the Author

Melissa Kress is Senior News Editor of Convenience Store News. Read More