This year’s NACS event was no flash in the pan, but it was chock full of flashy technology and a new bent on digital solutions.
For the 2022 NACS conference, the name of the game wasn’t the newest flavors in CPG or even the growing vape category, but rather the focus on new digital technology and how the c-store space is setting the pace to match their rivals in food service, retail, and grocery.
Case in point, many retailers, used this year’s event space to showcase flashy new touch screen technology, video boards, and digital displays. From display cases to menu boards and even our own Punchh loyalty integrated touchscreen pump (borrowed from our friends at Dover), solutions across the cavernous halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center flashed with colorful images promoting various CPG products.
So why the growing focus on digital displays in this traditionally very conventional industry? A shift in consumer perception and expectation is the likely answer. Like the digital boards lining the highways of well-trafficked routes, consumers expect to be targeted in more current and tech-savvy ways. They expect brands to stand out and really communicate their value props in powerful displays. From loyalty offers, to personalized campaigns to innovative tech that ensures a quality product, whether it’s food, drink, or consumable goods. They also expect solutions that ease the experience of frequenting the forecourt but continue to drive them into the backcourt.
Here are a few of the more powerful digital promotional tech solutions we saw attract the crowds of NACS 2022:
Contactless Payments & Walk Out Solutions
A big theme at this year’s NACS Show was contactless payment and solutions that allow consumers to pay at the pump. From Apple Pay to mobile applications that offer seamless digital payment solutions, one thing is clear, cash is on its way out. Even Amazon appeared with their savvy grab-and-go solution, with payment occurring seamlessly as you depart. Consumers are ever more hyper-conscious about time spent during the transactional process, and these solutions ease the burden and improve the experience for the shopper.
Touch Screen Loyalty at the Pumps
This year, Punchh was front and center at NACS with their very own innovative display, thanks to a partnership with Dover Fueling Solutions. The sleek touch screen offers smart commuter intel like media, traffic reports and weather, while also promoting loyalty offers and displaying information like current banked points and games to rack up additional offers. As more operators seek to offset rising gas prices and drive consumers from the pump, solutions like these help create stickiness with finicky guests, while driving long-term customer lifetime value.
Digital Promotions, on Every Surface
Everywhere you looked at this year’s event, there was a digital screen; playing videos, promoting offers, and even showcasing products. Pillar signs now operate like menu displays, and digital screens promote CPG products in ways that increasingly resemble commercials. Even standard soda coolers have gotten into the game, featuring a variety of sodas one minute and then converting to large promotional billboards, attracting and engaging a consumer to specific high-priced ticket items. All the flashing colors are meant to attract and sell products in mouthwatering ways, while also hyping new CPG categories.
After the last few years, the c-store space is finally ready to move forward, and technology innovations seem to be the path ahead as operators eye ways to differentiate themselves.
It’s a unique time in the c-store space as more brands stand ready to reinvent their brick and mortars, as well as their pumps, to respond to consumer demand. Only time will tell where these innovations will go, but one thing is clear. You can find them all at NACS 2022.
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