More Single Stores Buying Into Technology

NATIONAL REPORT — The convenience store industry's single-store operators significantly hiked their spending budgets on technology during 2015. More than 71 percent of respondents to the exclusive Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner 2015 Technology Study said they spent money on technology during this year, far outpacing the 62 percent of single-store retailers who said the same last year.

While this statistic is certainly telling, the amount of money single-store owners spent is even more so. The average spent per company rose by a robust $5,500 year over year to $36,500, while the median spent per company increased by an impressive $9,000 year over year to $25,000.

EMV — an acronym for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the three companies that originally created the security standard — is likely a major contributor to single-store owner’s spend-happy ways. All retailers faced a liability shift deadline of Oct. 1 to upgrade their in-store point-of-sale (POS) devices to be EMV compliant. Although not a requirement, retailers who opted not to upgrade by this date face the possibility of being held financially responsible for fraudulent transactions taking place at their POS.

In the Single Store Owner technology survey fielded shortly prior to the Oct. 1 deadline, three-quarters of respondents said they were either already EMV compliant at the POS or had started the process to meet EMV specifications. Conversely, one in every four single-store retailers responded that they have yet to begin the process.

This year’s study also revealed many changes when comparing the results to last year’s findings. Year-over-year differences could primarily be found regarding use of business intelligence software, social media networking and loyalty programs. For instance:

  • A majority of single-store operators (54.2 percent) now utilize business intelligence software in an effort to improve their businesses, compared to 48.6 percent last year.
  • Nearly 43 percent of the 2015 Single Store Owner Technology Study respondents now use social media in their marketing plans, compared to slightly less than 40 percent last year.
  • Nearly one-quarter of single stores now offer a loyalty program, an impressive 5.4-percentage-point increase year over year. A majority of these loyalty programs are tied to a major oil brand.

For more results from the 2015 Single Store Owner Technology Study, including insight into future planned technology investments, look in the December issue. A digital edition can be accessed by clicking here.

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