Report: C-stores Face Barriers to Omnichannel & Frictionless Checkout 

BATH, United Kingdom — While convenience store retailers know they will have to offer new levels of frictionless checkout and omnichannel convenience to compete, they face barriers due to the high cost and lack of consistency across their technology infrastructure.

According to the C-store Technology Insight Report, a new survey conducted on behalf of Zynstra by Censuswide, found four key challenges in rolling out new applications and services, like:

  • Cost of sending information technology (IT) teams to upgrade and install the new features (43 percent)
  • Difficulty in consistency of offline-online components (42 percent)
  • Overall budgets hindered their ability to implement new features (37 percent)
  • Lack of consistency across store sites created friction in delivering an omnichannel experience (32 percent)

In response to the Amazon threat, survey respondents identified mobile point-of-sale (POS) tablets, kiosk-based POS, scan and go, mobile payment apps, order online/pick-up in-store, and order at the pump as "very important" to the future of their business.

When asked about POS systems, the majority of c-store retailers indicated a number of drivers for change at the POS. Only 18 percent of respondents said they had the exact POS infrastructure to serve the business now and in the future. According to retailers, they:

  • Are uncertain of the future of customer checkout behavior, but know they need to make POS investments now to adjust to evolving behaviors (25 percent)
  • Acknowledge that their current POS infrastructure requires change to meet the demands of the future (23 percent)
  • Seek a solution to keep their legacy POS running with minimal cost to buy their c-store estates’ time as they analyze how checkout behavior evolves (21 percent)

To meet the challenges of implementing new applications and services, 91 percent of survey respondents answered that simplified management of IT is a top priority, so is reducing IT costs, the ability to run new advanced applications, and empowering store associates with the right technology to maximize sales per square foot.

"With rising labor costs impacting margins, c-store retailers are looking for ways to drive in-store cost efficiencies while meeting customer's expectations for a fast and frictionless experience," said Nick East, CEO and founder of Zynstra. "To achieve this, we are seeing c-store retailers look towards optimizing their existing POS infrastructure while digitally transforming their stores for the future."

Findings from the C-store Technology Insight Report are the results from a survey of c-store directors and IT managers from U.S. convenience store chains with a physical footprint of 20 to more than 500 locations and average revenue between $10 million to more than $999 million. To download the full report, click here.

Zynstra enables retailers to deliver superior customer and employee experiences through faster innovation and radically reduces cost to serve in-store.