As we near the end of another year, it is hard not to reflect on the past 12 months and when it comes to the retail technology space, it is hard not to notice the recurring themes of 2022.
Enhanced Mobile Apps. One thing that stands out is that many convenience store retailers upped their mobile game. For example, Kwik Trip Inc. added carryout, curbside pickup and delivery when ordering via the Kwik Rewards app. Additionally, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors Inc. upgraded its Max Car Wash mobile app to now enable mobile payment at the pump. And still others put muscle behind their mobile apps to build awareness through promotions — Wawa Inc. and Fuelco launched fuel discounts, while QuikTrip Corp. turned to beverages to draw in its mobile customers.
New Checkout Options. Making the shopping experience more convenient for the time-strapped consumer is a main priority for c-store operators, and some began investing in checkout-free technology to provide a seamless c-store trip. Notably, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. announced that it will deploy more than 10,000 Mashgin Touchless Checkout Systems, branded as "Smart Checkout," at more than 7,000 of its Circle K and Couche-Tard stores during the next three years. In addition, MAPCO, Chevron ExtraMile and QuikTrip debuted the checkout-free option at stores in 2022.
Change on the Forecourt. The electric vehicle (EV) industry received a boost this summer when the Biden Administration set a goal to create a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030. As we all know, c-stores are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this market. Some operators are taking big steps now to prepare. Pilot Co. is collaborating with General Motors to build a national direct-current fast charging network that will be installed and managed by EVgo, and it is teaming up with Volvo Group to develop a high-performance charging network open to all battery-electric Class 8 truck brands to support fleet customers in their electrification and decarbonization journeys.
And the list of retailers embracing these technology trends goes on and on. This is just a sampling of what is happening around the channel — and it is also just the beginning.