The main selling point of convenience stores is just that – convenience. These retailers offer consumers a one-stop shop, an opportunity to grab a coffee and snack en route to their final destination. But for today’s consumers, convenience is no longer enough. Retail expectations are rapidly changing, and that extends to the convenience sector; gone are the days when convenience was simply about speed, location, and price.
While large grocers and retailers have recognized the competitive advantage technology offers, convenience stores have been slower to warm to these new trends…until now. Increasingly, convenience stores are leveraging mobile-centric technologies to connect, engage, and market to consumers. According to a Convenience Store News 2016 study, 47% of chain convenience stores now offer a mobile app, compared to just 29% in 2014.
Wawa is one convenience chain that has adopted a mobile technology strategy. With more than 700 stores along the East Coast, Wawa offers a large fresh food service selection that includes hoagies, coffee, speciality beverages, snacks, and more. Using the personalized, location-based features of mobile applications, the c-store chain draws customers in with special offers and incentives designed to boost traffic, sales and customer loyalty.
All Wawa locations accept mobile payments through the Wawa mobile app, enabling customers to make in-store purchases with more convenience than ever. By using mobile pay in conjunction with a point of sale system, c-stores can more accurately track data and inventory and identify sales trends, storing all gathered information on a cloud platform.
Built into their mobile app, Wawa customers can pre-order food and beverages. To keep orders fresh, the food is not made right away. Instead, GPS tracking alerts the store when the customer is within a certain distance.
Wawa uses self-service kiosks to process hundreds of orders daily for its highly successful built-to-order hoagies, salads, and other specialty food items. This allows Wawa to maximize productivity, improve order accuracy, and increase sales. This technology has been in place for years, showcasing just how dedicated the company is to improving the customer experience through technological advancements. In fact, Wawa was among the first convenience stores to implement this technology.
Loyalty programs are a great way to build rapport with customers. It also allows merchants to shape purchasing behavior by incentivizing the actions they want customers to take. These programs track and incentivize purchasing behavior, rewarding customers for their loyalty to a particular brand. Wawa’s incentive program enables its customers to earn rewards for spending money using a gift card tied to their mobile app. When integrated with POS technology, it gives c-stores the ability tailor marketing efforts to each individual shopper, creating a personalized customer experience.
Over time these personalized and location-based customer touch points can result in more store visits and increased sales. By adding incentive and opportunity to their historical value proposition — convenience — c-stores are using mobile technology to deepen ties with their customers, creating greater loyalty and boosting bottom lines over the long term.