Rutter's CEO Talks Technology and Shopping

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Rutter's CEO Talks Technology and Shopping


YORK, Pa. -- At the 2006 NACS Show, Rutter's CEO Scott Hartman gave a speech that included predictions for the industry's future in technology. Many of those predictions, which included an increased focus on mobile devices and the rise of the mobile wallet, have come true, but that doesn't mean obstacles to technological advances still don't exist, according to a York Daily Record interview with Hartman.

Change in payment methods is coming, largely based on convenience. "The concept is moving (people) from the plastic card in a leather wallet to a technology-based place to store those things," said Hartman. "The idea is that that device would be a more convenient way to recognize you and process your transaction."

Hartman has helped Rutter's stay on the front lines of technology in the c-store industry; in 2009, the company became the first c-store chain to release a mobile app. Today, Rutter's customers can use the app to search for store locations with specific features, check gasoline prices in real time and receive alerts on special promotions.

Yet this isn't because of any precognitive abilities on Hartman's part. As a former NACS chairman, Hartman traveled to Asia, where he got a preview of technological developments. "Things that they were doing with mobile devices were not deployed over here yet," he told the Record. "So, it's not as much as having the ability to predict things as the ability to identify things."

While Hartman may have a proven track record of identifying inevitable changes, that doesn't mean it's all smooth sailing ahead. The banking industry may be reluctant to relinquish control over non-cash payments, he said. "They see the mobile wallets as competition to plastic cards unless they are the guys issuing it."

In the end, convenience store customers can expect to see a number of new technological features, such as digital coupons and improved mobile devices for customer service, plus digital signs and in-store televisions, predicted Hartman, who added that it will take time to implement these upgrades.

For more on Scott Hartman and mobile wallets, read this feature from the latest issue of Convenience Store News.