FRANKLIN, Tenn. — For MAPCO, the operator of 340-plus company-owned convenience stores in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi, innovation means being a pioneer on all fronts of the convenience store business model — not just meeting expectations, but exceeding them. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Generating new ideas in the industry comes from listening to your guests, team members and other thought leaders in the convenience store space to provide solutions to everyday problems,” said MAPCO CEO Frederic Chaveyriat. “For many communities, convenience stores are an integral aspect of daily life and that’s why they were deemed essential businesses.”
Pre-COVID, MAPCO found itself in a unique position: some of its newest innovations, including a newly redesigned app with touchless payment options and a DoorDash delivery partnership, were set to launch during this timeframe. However, the retailer knew it had to go back to the drawing board to make sure all of its guests had access to crucial products like food, water and fuel — and that’s where MAPCO’s Full Service+ offering was born.
“During the height of the pandemic, we built a touchless fueling model at 14-plus locations across four different states and rolled out a curbside service at one of our stores in Clarksville, Tenn,” Chaveyriat said. “This offering was launched in tandem with our stringent cleaning protocols, disinfecting process and COVID-19 safety precautions.”
Continuously evaluating the pandemic, MAPCO has since decided to suspend the Full Service+ program to focus its efforts on more long-term touchless offerings. To that end, the chain is finalizing its brand-new Scan N’ Go and Order Ahead services, which will be available via the retailer’s mobile app. With these programs, guests will have the ability to pick up items on the go and avoid the traditional checkout process.
“We are proud of our quick thinking and [Full Service+] pilot program as it represents the spirit of MAPCO always finding a different way to do things,” Chaveyriat said. “Whether we realize it or not, the pandemic has drastically changed everyday aspects of our lives, and that includes the way we shop. Long before the COVID-19 outbreak, it was proven that the traditional retail model simply wasn’t enough to meet the needs of both guests and team members. We are all living busy lives and looking for ways to make essential tasks and duties more efficient.”
The chief executive expects more c-store operators will shift to advancing their touchless pay offerings to make the customer experience more efficient and customizable.