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Technology Trends to Watch in 2023

Retail media networks, subscription programs and a frictionless forecourt are innovations poised to go mainstream.
A computer screen loading 2023

Last week, I talked about a few technology trends of 2022, so it's only fitting to look now at what the next 12 months could bring. Of course, no one has a crystal ball, but there are some innovations that are picking up steam in the convenience store industry.

Retail media networks. C-store operators are always looking for new ways to connect with their customers and retail media networks offer a perfect platform to do just that. Some industry players are already embracing this idea. 7-Eleven Inc. launched Gulp Media Network this fall, and Casey's General Stores Inc. will go live with Casey's Access in early 2023.

Subscription programs. Sheetz, 7-Eleven and, most recently, Fast Lane Convenience Stores' parent company Warrenton Oil have thrown their hats into the subscription space — to name a few. Why? According to Paytronix, subscription programs boost basket sizes, drive repeat business, and provide flexibility to the operator.

Connected Cars. Convenience retailers have been sharply focused on taking as much friction as possible out of the shopper journey in the store. Now, that focus is starting to turn to the forecourt. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. unveiled its new Chevron Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps that allow motorists to pay for fuel from the dashboard infotainment systems in their cars. Along the same lines, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.'s Pay by Plate payment technology offers a completely frictionless customer experience that enables customers to pay for fuel using sign recognition and a mobile app.

It’s too early to tell if these technologies will go fully mainstream in 2023, but with leading retailers like 7-Eleven, Casey's and Couche-Tard paving the way, I have no doubt others will follow.

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