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In retailing, tech innovations help make stores faster, smarter, and easier for customers to navigate. For small businesses, upgrades in technology can help stores stand out from the pack and compete with larger enterprises. From back-end data processing to an improved customer experience, technology is one of the largest spend categories for store operators. Here’s a breakdown of the key insights from the 2023 Convenience Store News Technology Survey.
More and more store owners are looking to be tech-forward.
One of the biggest takeaways from the survey is how many more retailers want to improve their technology offerings. Retailers are investing more than ever in tech such as social media, data analytics platforms, and digital loyalty programs. This trend is reflected in store budgets, with 58% of retailers reporting that they increased tech spending between 2021 and 2022. Furthermore, 50% plan to increase their technology budget from 2022 to 2023.
C-store owners are looking to invest in customer-facing technology upgrades.
Customer-forward technology, like loyalty programs, lend themselves to better data for advertising for a store across the board. Therefore, customer-facing technology is the #1 place retailers are looking to invest in. 30% of store owners are looking to send text message updates to customers when their GPS location pings near a store. The other biggest customer-facing tech upgrades include touch screen ordering for made-to-order food, email marketing, and mobile applications. 58% of overall technology spending goes to consumer-facing technology, while 42% goes to employee facing tech.
Though customer-facing technology is most important to retailers, backend tech just as important. 54% of retailers want to use backend technology to develop greater business intelligence and reporting capabilities. Back-office systems, such as CStoreOffice, offer an interconnected view of store data and hundreds of different reports to optimize operations.
One retailer who was surveyed said:
“Only with good optics of business performance can we best determine how to make changes and/or improvements.”2023 CSN Technology Survey
Forecourt innovations aim to bring customers into the store.
Many retailers are concerned about getting fuel customers inside the store, where product margins are higher and customers are more likely to spend. The average basket size in a c-store is 2 items, meaning the average customer that enters the store from the forecourt is purchasing 2 items, often with high gross profit margins. Because of this, innovation at the forecourt is at the forefront of store owners’ minds. According to the survey, 66% of retailers want to provide a better customer experience at the forecourt, 60% wish to secure customer loyalty, and 50% want to personalize marketing.
Ready to invest in your store’s technological future? Request a demo with our team! Petrosoft offers innovations in back-office software, data processing, ready-made food ordering, loss prevention, and more.