Walking into a convenience store today, consumers interact with a variety of technology applications, from pay-at-the-pump and point-of-sale (POS) to kiosks and video monitors. At one point, these technologies were considered cutting-edge, but these days they are staples for many chains.
Now, there is a new crop of next-generation technology, including social media analysis, mobile payments and mobile applications (apps). While retailers are still spending on technology considered critical to operate their business, they are also investing in the latest and greatest. More than half (51 percent) of respondents in the exclusive 2012 Convenience Store News Technology Study indicated they participate in social media, and 22 percent offer mobile apps to customers.
In 2010, only 26 percent of chains participated in social media, and this number jumped to 41 percent by 2011. This year, 51 percent report participation, and this figure is expected to continue to rise. Social media, along with mobile apps and mobile payments, are certainly top-of-mind for c-store chains and offer major opportunities for those that jump on board.