As the pandemic continues and more people turn to online shopping versus running into local convenience stores, the industry has seen a decline of almost 2 percent since 2019. Consumer spending habits changed drastically as everyone tries to stay safe.
Fortunately, smart tech helps keep convenience stores relevant in society by thinking outside the box and helping stores offer services they didn’t offer before.
How are Convenience Stores Changing?
With fewer people commuting and/or fewer people making traditional brick-and-mortar purchases, merchants are finding ways to meet customers where they need it.
For example, 7-Eleven and other large convenience stores implemented delivery services. Some partnered with companies like Shipt and DoorDash, while others offer their own delivery services within a specific radius.
Convenience stores also offer contactless payments for their credit card customers and self-checkout choices for consumers who want as little contact as possible.
Some convenience stores in large areas, such as airports, are utilizing Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology which recognizes the items a customer takes and charges the purchases to their credit card. Amazon has used the technology in their retail stores for a while and convenience stores are taking advantage, too.
Focus on How you can Instill Convenience
The name of the store says it all – ‘convenience.’ It’s why millions of people subscribe to Amazon Prime – they can have what they need/want to be delivered the next day usually. They don’t have to leave their home and still have the convenience of what they need in hand.
As the pandemic continues and the convenience store industry sees almost a 2 percent decline, it’s important to think outside the box.
How can smart technology help you give your customers the convenience they desire?
Credit card processing is big. While most stores already accept credit cards, instilling contactless payment methods is the key. Customers want as little contact as possible. When they feel safe shopping in your store because of the minimal contact, they’re more likely to shop at your store.
Smart apps and mobile payments are another great option. Whether you partner with a delivery company like DoorDash or you do your own thing – providing customers with contactless delivery gives them the option to stay loyal and safe.
If delivery isn’t an option for your convenience store, consider curbside pickup. This offers your customers another way to get the products they need without unnecessary contact.
Think Outside the Box
Today, it’s all about convenience and safety. Customers are even willing to pay more in certain situations if they know their safety is protected.
Show your audience you care about their wellbeing and will do whatever is necessary to keep them safe while providing the products they know and love.
As the pandemic continues and the industry continues declining, it’s about who stays in front of the issues, utilizing smart technology and giving customers alternative ways to shop and pay so they have the products they need and continue to patronize your business.