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Five Resolutions for the Convenience Store Retailer

Happy New Year. Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet?

I don’t normally make a lot of resolutions. In fact, by the time you’re reading this, I’m sure I’ve already broken at least two of my personal resolutions.

But perhaps, some of you are better at keeping resolutions than I am. So, given the time of year, I thought I’d present five resolutions I think convenience store retailers should consider.

1. Resolve to be EMV compliant at the pumps

The 2019 Convenience Store News Technology Study found that 20 percent of retailers had yet to start the process of becoming compliant with the new card company standards at their forecourt. Along with achieving compliance, use this upgrade opportunity to introduce new services, such as at-pump promotions of in-store products to draw fuel customers into your store, or touchscreens that enable customers to order food and drinks right at the pump.

2. Resolve to prepare for an EV future

Electric vehicle (EV) adoption may not immediately impact your business, but a smart c-store operator should be testing a range of actions. Take advantage of any available subsidies to install charging stations at some of your sites. Upgrade other aspects of your business — such as becoming a destination for foodservice or expanding your grocery selection to meet consumers’ fill-in needs — to become less dependent on gasoline sales.

3. Resolve to stay atop the latest technological advances in retailing today 

Figure out which ones will make the most difference in improving your business and, if needed, develop a plan to upgrade or replace your legacy technology to enable these advances.

4. Resolve to reduce friction in all aspects of your operation

Look for points of friction, from internal operations, to customer ordering and checkout, and even delivery. While only 12 percent of c-store retailers say they are currently employing “frictionless” technology in their stores, almost twice as many say they expect to implement this technology in the next 12 to 24 months, according to our research. Don’t get left behind.

5. Resolve to deal creatively with the current labor shortage

Streamline duties so that employees can be more effective and efficient in their roles. Offer performance-based compensation plans and online training, and develop diverse future leaders for your organization. People are the most under-appreciated asset of your brand.

New Year’s resolutions are often made to be broken. However, I think it would be wise to keep a few of these resolutions in 2020.

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