Many convenience stores are finding it challenging to keep up with, much less compete, with the Amazons of the world because they’re still playing catch-up with their technology. It’s their customer data management, specifically, that’s preventing them from delivering the seamless and personalized experience today’s consumers have come to expect, thanks to ecommerce and retail giants who are increasingly competing with c-stores for the customer’s share of wallet. With the right customer-focused strategy fueled by the right omnichannel marketing technology, c-stores can level the playing field. Let’s take a closer look.
Convenience in a channel agnostic world
Your customers today interact with your brand across various offline and online channels – at the pump, on their mobile and in the store. They switch between channels with ease and are increasingly channel agonistic. They want and expect their brand experiences to be easy, convenient and rewarding. Several pure play ecommerce players have capitalized on this trend and are now developing brick and mortar stores. The good news is that brick and mortar-stores are not going anywhere anytime soon. But they need to make sure they live up to the customer’s idea of convenience. In an interview with CSP Magazine1, Mr. Joe Sheetz, the President and CEO of Sheetz remarked “Believe it or not, people still leave their houses. Our industry is better positioned than any other to take advantage of those occasions when people are on the move. However, we need to make sure we are living up to the customers’ idea of real convenience so that they can shop us quickly and efficiently.”
‘Real convenience’ is now less about a channel and more about an experience. When your brand engages customers online and offline and makes each interaction personal, you’re on your way to building win-win relationships that go the distance. The problem is, you may be taking a siloed approach to customer data management that’s getting in the way of meeting each customer’s needs and preferences, and it’s leading them to your competitor’s store. Today’s consumers hold the bargaining power, so to speak, so the onus is on your brand to attract—and retain—them for the long haul. This means taking your customer data out of silos and bringing it together for use across every customer touch-point, whether that’s on the web or in a physical store.
The Technology Connection
C-stores need to be able to integrate several types of data to create individual customer profiles. Exactly what kind of data are we talking about?
To add to the complexity, data needs to be updated and processed real time so that the customer is presented with the right offer and message at the right time via the right channel. When you think of the data management required to blend these types of data together, it’s easy to see why investing in the right technology is critical to providing seamless experiences for customers. Today, it’s critical to implement the same technology systems not only across retail locations, but across channels so your team can get one single view of each customer and deliver increasingly delightful customer experiences.
What’s more, when “basic” customer demographic and transactional data can be supplemented with predictive analytics, you’re able to extrapolate likely next steps and serve up highly targeted offers—using technology to help reduce churn and mitigate risks.
When your omnichannel customer data is collected, stored, analyzed, and used to deliver relevant, personal offers, customers enjoy more relevant and personal experiences with your brands. Isn’t that what you need to build their loyalty? If you want to learn more about how to pair digital and in-store experiences, contact us.