3 Top Convenience Store Innovations for 2021

[:en]Circle K recently announced an exclusive international partnership with Bitcoin’s ATM network. This currently includes more than 700 ATMs in stores across 30 states.

The innovation allows Circle K to access underserved communities and attract new customers.

Consumers can now immediately buy cryptocurrency, or sign up to create an account and perform a transaction within 1-2 minutes.

How much sense does this innovation make for Circle K? It remains to be seen.

And something like this may or may not make sense for your c-store chain. However, it shines the light on what leading companies in any industry do to remain in the lead: take innovative risks.

So let’s take a look at some of the more interesting, and perhaps more practical, innovations that may make good sense for your c-store chain:

1. Contactless Payment Options

COVID may have already forced you into implementing some form of contactless payment at your c-store chain.

But when it comes to contactless payment, Pilot Flying J stores really shine. Customers can pay using their mobile wallet. Apple Pay, Google Pay, and mobile fueling for commercial diesel are also options.

Customers can use any credit card they want. And commercial customers can use any fleet card they want.

Plus, commercial trucks can make reservations via the mobile app, as well as shower reservations.

Wow! What a suite of convenient payment options!

2. Hyper-Personalization

It’s no longer enough just to personalize your marketing to your customers anymore.

Now, you have to “hyper-personalize.”

This means using behavioral, transactional, and preferential data to deliver real-time offers and rewards that have an unequaled chance to generate more sales.

So you’re not just creating loyalty programs that fit all customers. You’re creating personalized ones that meet the needs of individual customers.

Kwik Trip is an exceptional example of this. Offers, incentives, and messages are all hyper-personalized for their Kwik Rewards program.

3. Multi-Channel Engagement

It’s not easy to maintain a consistent brand experience across the dozens of channels you have to market on in 2021.

When you do it right, though, customer satisfaction and lifetime value improve.

Wawa is a great example of this. To their credit, they were one of the early adopters of mobile apps, which they began offering in 2015.

Because they got into the game so early, they were able to quickly adapt to market changes that happened in 2020 due to COVID.

Keeping them at the top of the c-store marketing in the Northeast was their curbside pickup program. They were able to easily implement it because they had the app available for placing orders.

Currently, they are shifting their channel mix to include more non-traditional marketing channels.

So that’s what you should be on the lookout to work on next at your c-store. What’s the next innovation you will implement?[:]