Convenience store customer engagement trends — a comprehensive guide

If you manage a convenience store and have growth on your mind, you need to prioritize one thing above all else: customer engagement. Maximizing convenience store customer engagement is key to scaling your business, avoiding churn, and optimizing revenue.

The question is, how do you create a C-store customer experience that keeps patrons coming back? There is no single answer. To thrive in the c-store space, you must master convenience store marketing, engage with customers using advanced tech, and provide a frictionless in-store experience.

Our convenience store customer engagement guide features actionable insights about the latest trends that you can use to boost customer loyalty, bolster your bottom line, and stand out from the competition.

The Significance of Customer Engagement in Convenience Stores

Convenience store customer engagement is how you create relationships with your customer base. Maximizing engagement is an ongoing process that involves:

  • Gathering customer feedback
  • Altering your service model
  • Offering incentives to encourage repeat business
  • Being responsive to the needs of your patrons

Convenience businesses that excel at meeting customer needs enjoy high engagement, more conversions, and better profitability.

Conversely, convenience retailers that fail to prioritize customer engagement will struggle to acquire new customers. Consequently, they will experience fewer store visits than their consumer-centric counterparts.

Let’s consider a real-world example. On average, gas station c- stores receive 300 visitors per day. However, only 35% of those customers actually go inside the store and make a purchase. The rest simply pump gas and get back on the road.

In our scenario, suppose that you use a mix of marketing strategies, new products, and mobile device ordering services to increase that figure to 45% (135 people per day). These additions translate to an additional 600 customers per month.

Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Engagement

Technology holds the key to cultivating a better c-store customer experience. Integrating modern technologies into your convenience store marketing, audience retargeting, and in-store checkout processes will significantly increase engagement and help you generate more revenue.

Over the past decade, convenience stores across the country have been gradually investing in digital transformation. However, the pandemic sent this process into overdrive, leading to the adoption of new strategies like online ordering and curbside delivery. By adopting these tactics, convenience stores weathered the pandemic and continued to provide customers with a frictionless experience.

By following suit, you can compete with top c-stores like 7-Eleven and Circle K and better serve your customer base.

Mobile Apps and Loyalty Programs

According to Statista, a staggering 81% of convenience store patrons spend four minutes or less shopping in c-stores. Roughly one-third of customers spend two minutes or less shopping. This means you have only a few minutes to engage with customers and make a lasting impression — unless you have a mobile app and loyalty program, that is.

Launching a loyalty program and managing it through a mobile app allows you to stay engaged with customers long after they have left your store. By periodically running deals and targeting patrons with custom offers, you can encourage them to purchase more frequently. If you play your cards right, they will spend more during each transaction, too, which is great for your bottom line.

Contactless Payments and Self-Serve Kiosks

Keeping up with customer needs will help you improve engagement and loyalty. One important trend is the increased demand for contactless payments. CNBC found that over half of Americans regularly use digital wallets and contactless payment tools. If you don’t already accept contactless payment, it’s time to start.

Installing self-service kiosks is another great way to limit profit tanking and circumvent staffing issues. Doing so allows you to streamline the checkout experience and remove obstacles from the purchasing process.

Convenience Store Delivery Technology

Sometimes, customers want to purchase something from your store but don’t want to leave the house. Integrating delivery technology into your business model makes your products more accessible and helps you reach a wider audience. This tactic can also assist you in acquiring new customers, especially if your nearby competitors don’t offer any delivery services.

On-Demand Delivery Services

Partnering with popular delivery service providers like Uber and DoorDash is one of the easiest ways to start offering deliveries. This approach places very little burden on your staff but can lead to a huge increase in order volume and frequency.

You can also turn your c-store into an e-commerce delivery pick-up location by partnering with Amazon. When customers stop in to pick up their Amazon package from your store, they will probably pop in and make a purchase, too.

Food Service in Convenience Stores

For years, convenience store food services were limited to hot dogs and boiled peanuts. Today, customers expect more from the local c-store.

Offering a wider range of high-quality food options can help you attract new customers and expand your audience. While it is important not to overstretch your staff, you should integrate several hot food items into your menu.

Fresh and Healthy Choices

When reevaluating your food services, make sure to accommodate the health-conscious crowd. There are lots of busy commuters out there who want to eat fresh, healthy food while on the go.

It is important not to try to please everyone. Stocking too many niche food items can lead to inventory management nightmares. With that in mind, gather data about customer needs and select healthy options that will appeal to as many people as possible.

Convenience Store Self-Checkout Procedure and Security

Self-checkout kiosks enhance convenience and customer engagement. Consumers seem to have gotten on board, with 85% of shoppers having used self-checkout machines.

However, it is important that you remain security-minded when implementing your self-checkout procedures. Otherwise, you will experience a spike in theft.

Ensuring Self-Checkout Security

Digital security solutions are the easiest way to ensure self-checkout security. Installing high-quality cameras and monitors in the self-checkout area will deter any would-be thieves. And if theft does occur, your camera system will help you identify the culprit and prevent it from recurring.

Self-Service Kiosks and Checkout Options

When implementing new technologies into your checkout process, make sure to give your customers a few options. Some solutions to consider include:

Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks are one of the most popular checkout solutions. They expedite the checkout process and allow your customers to get on with their day sooner. These kiosks also reduce your staffing needs, thus decreasing your labor expenses as well.

Scan-and-Go and Mobile Checkout

Another self-service option is a scan-and-go mobile app. These apps allow customers to scan items as they shop, pay for them using their digital wallets, and simply walk out when they are done. This has become a popular tool in large retail stores, but it’s also gaining traction among c-store owners.

C-Stores and Digital Loyalty Programs

Digital loyalty programs enhance customer engagement and retention by gamifying the shopping experience. When you reward them for each purchase, they will be eager to make the next one.

Designing Effective Loyalty Programs

An effective loyalty program should be fun as well as easy to enroll in and use. Additionally, the rewards need to be meaningful and relevant.

The 7-Eleven 7REWARDS program is a great example. It provides exclusive deals, awards customers points, and requires them to use the mobile app. 7-Eleven has also made it easy for users to sign up. If you are unsure where to start with your plan, consider modeling it after 7REWARDS.

Once you have built a great program, create a convenience store marketing plan to encourage your customers to sign up. What good is your program if no one knows about it?

The Role of Security Solutions

You must be mindful of security concerns whenever you revamp your business model or integrate new technology into the customer experience. Adding new tech to your c-store can make things more convenient for your customers, but it also makes your business model more vulnerable. Fortunately, you can ensure customer trust and safety while embracing new tech by installing some modern security solutions.

Surveillance and Customer Safety

When it comes to maximizing customer safety, surveillance systems are some of the best tools at your disposal. Security cameras give you a 360-degree view of what’s going on in your c-store, whether you are on-site or handling other responsibilities.

Surveillance solutions don’t just keep you in the loop; they also make your customers feel safe. If you want customers to perceive your c-store as a great place to shop, make security a priority during your digital transformation.

Future Trends in C-Store Customer Engagement

Two emerging trends in c-store customer engagement include:

Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping

Augmented reality shopping technology is catching on among retailers in almost every space. AR tech simultaneously engages and entertains customers, leading to a memorable shopping experience.

Personalized AI Chatbots

AI chatbots can provide customers with personalized assistance without bogging down your staff. Chatbots could offer information about products, assist with returns, and more.

Convenience Store Engagement Solutions With DTiQ

Cultivating a memorable c-store customer experience requires a multifaceted approach that combines tech, in-store tactics, and dynamic marketing campaigns. Digital c-store solutions play a particularly important role in optimizing engagement and retention. If you are ready to embrace these trends to increase convenience store customer engagement, you must align yourself with the right technology partners.

At DTiQ, we provide specialized security solutions for convenience and grocery stores that will help you improve customer satisfaction, protect your patrons, and proactively identify threats to your bottom line. Book a demo with DTiQ today, and let’s discuss what we can do for your business.

Download the E-Book
By clicking “Download" below, you give your permission for DTiQ to store and process the personal information you've provided above in order to deliver the requested content.
Thank you! Your download will start soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
File button

Convenience store customer engagement trends — a comprehensive guide

If you manage a convenience store and have growth on your mind, you need to prioritize one thing above all else: customer engagement. Maximizing convenience store customer engagement is key to scaling your business, avoiding churn, and optimizing revenue.

The question is, how do you create a C-store customer experience that keeps patrons coming back? There is no single answer. To thrive in the c-store space, you must master convenience store marketing, engage with customers using advanced tech, and provide a frictionless in-store experience.

Our convenience store customer engagement guide features actionable insights about the latest trends that you can use to boost customer loyalty, bolster your bottom line, and stand out from the competition.

The Significance of Customer Engagement in Convenience Stores

Convenience store customer engagement is how you create relationships with your customer base. Maximizing engagement is an ongoing process that involves:

  • Gathering customer feedback
  • Altering your service model
  • Offering incentives to encourage repeat business
  • Being responsive to the needs of your patrons

Convenience businesses that excel at meeting customer needs enjoy high engagement, more conversions, and better profitability.

Conversely, convenience retailers that fail to prioritize customer engagement will struggle to acquire new customers. Consequently, they will experience fewer store visits than their consumer-centric counterparts.

Let’s consider a real-world example. On average, gas station c- stores receive 300 visitors per day. However, only 35% of those customers actually go inside the store and make a purchase. The rest simply pump gas and get back on the road.

In our scenario, suppose that you use a mix of marketing strategies, new products, and mobile device ordering services to increase that figure to 45% (135 people per day). These additions translate to an additional 600 customers per month.

Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Engagement

Technology holds the key to cultivating a better c-store customer experience. Integrating modern technologies into your convenience store marketing, audience retargeting, and in-store checkout processes will significantly increase engagement and help you generate more revenue.

Over the past decade, convenience stores across the country have been gradually investing in digital transformation. However, the pandemic sent this process into overdrive, leading to the adoption of new strategies like online ordering and curbside delivery. By adopting these tactics, convenience stores weathered the pandemic and continued to provide customers with a frictionless experience.

By following suit, you can compete with top c-stores like 7-Eleven and Circle K and better serve your customer base.

Mobile Apps and Loyalty Programs

According to Statista, a staggering 81% of convenience store patrons spend four minutes or less shopping in c-stores. Roughly one-third of customers spend two minutes or less shopping. This means you have only a few minutes to engage with customers and make a lasting impression — unless you have a mobile app and loyalty program, that is.

Launching a loyalty program and managing it through a mobile app allows you to stay engaged with customers long after they have left your store. By periodically running deals and targeting patrons with custom offers, you can encourage them to purchase more frequently. If you play your cards right, they will spend more during each transaction, too, which is great for your bottom line.

Contactless Payments and Self-Serve Kiosks

Keeping up with customer needs will help you improve engagement and loyalty. One important trend is the increased demand for contactless payments. CNBC found that over half of Americans regularly use digital wallets and contactless payment tools. If you don’t already accept contactless payment, it’s time to start.

Installing self-service kiosks is another great way to limit profit tanking and circumvent staffing issues. Doing so allows you to streamline the checkout experience and remove obstacles from the purchasing process.

Convenience Store Delivery Technology

Sometimes, customers want to purchase something from your store but don’t want to leave the house. Integrating delivery technology into your business model makes your products more accessible and helps you reach a wider audience. This tactic can also assist you in acquiring new customers, especially if your nearby competitors don’t offer any delivery services.

On-Demand Delivery Services

Partnering with popular delivery service providers like Uber and DoorDash is one of the easiest ways to start offering deliveries. This approach places very little burden on your staff but can lead to a huge increase in order volume and frequency.

You can also turn your c-store into an e-commerce delivery pick-up location by partnering with Amazon. When customers stop in to pick up their Amazon package from your store, they will probably pop in and make a purchase, too.

Food Service in Convenience Stores

For years, convenience store food services were limited to hot dogs and boiled peanuts. Today, customers expect more from the local c-store.

Offering a wider range of high-quality food options can help you attract new customers and expand your audience. While it is important not to overstretch your staff, you should integrate several hot food items into your menu.

Fresh and Healthy Choices

When reevaluating your food services, make sure to accommodate the health-conscious crowd. There are lots of busy commuters out there who want to eat fresh, healthy food while on the go.

It is important not to try to please everyone. Stocking too many niche food items can lead to inventory management nightmares. With that in mind, gather data about customer needs and select healthy options that will appeal to as many people as possible.

Convenience Store Self-Checkout Procedure and Security

Self-checkout kiosks enhance convenience and customer engagement. Consumers seem to have gotten on board, with 85% of shoppers having used self-checkout machines.

However, it is important that you remain security-minded when implementing your self-checkout procedures. Otherwise, you will experience a spike in theft.

Ensuring Self-Checkout Security

Digital security solutions are the easiest way to ensure self-checkout security. Installing high-quality cameras and monitors in the self-checkout area will deter any would-be thieves. And if theft does occur, your camera system will help you identify the culprit and prevent it from recurring.

Self-Service Kiosks and Checkout Options

When implementing new technologies into your checkout process, make sure to give your customers a few options. Some solutions to consider include:

Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks are one of the most popular checkout solutions. They expedite the checkout process and allow your customers to get on with their day sooner. These kiosks also reduce your staffing needs, thus decreasing your labor expenses as well.

Scan-and-Go and Mobile Checkout

Another self-service option is a scan-and-go mobile app. These apps allow customers to scan items as they shop, pay for them using their digital wallets, and simply walk out when they are done. This has become a popular tool in large retail stores, but it’s also gaining traction among c-store owners.

C-Stores and Digital Loyalty Programs

Digital loyalty programs enhance customer engagement and retention by gamifying the shopping experience. When you reward them for each purchase, they will be eager to make the next one.

Designing Effective Loyalty Programs

An effective loyalty program should be fun as well as easy to enroll in and use. Additionally, the rewards need to be meaningful and relevant.

The 7-Eleven 7REWARDS program is a great example. It provides exclusive deals, awards customers points, and requires them to use the mobile app. 7-Eleven has also made it easy for users to sign up. If you are unsure where to start with your plan, consider modeling it after 7REWARDS.

Once you have built a great program, create a convenience store marketing plan to encourage your customers to sign up. What good is your program if no one knows about it?

The Role of Security Solutions

You must be mindful of security concerns whenever you revamp your business model or integrate new technology into the customer experience. Adding new tech to your c-store can make things more convenient for your customers, but it also makes your business model more vulnerable. Fortunately, you can ensure customer trust and safety while embracing new tech by installing some modern security solutions.

Surveillance and Customer Safety

When it comes to maximizing customer safety, surveillance systems are some of the best tools at your disposal. Security cameras give you a 360-degree view of what’s going on in your c-store, whether you are on-site or handling other responsibilities.

Surveillance solutions don’t just keep you in the loop; they also make your customers feel safe. If you want customers to perceive your c-store as a great place to shop, make security a priority during your digital transformation.

Future Trends in C-Store Customer Engagement

Two emerging trends in c-store customer engagement include:

Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping

Augmented reality shopping technology is catching on among retailers in almost every space. AR tech simultaneously engages and entertains customers, leading to a memorable shopping experience.

Personalized AI Chatbots

AI chatbots can provide customers with personalized assistance without bogging down your staff. Chatbots could offer information about products, assist with returns, and more.

Convenience Store Engagement Solutions With DTiQ

Cultivating a memorable c-store customer experience requires a multifaceted approach that combines tech, in-store tactics, and dynamic marketing campaigns. Digital c-store solutions play a particularly important role in optimizing engagement and retention. If you are ready to embrace these trends to increase convenience store customer engagement, you must align yourself with the right technology partners.

At DTiQ, we provide specialized security solutions for convenience and grocery stores that will help you improve customer satisfaction, protect your patrons, and proactively identify threats to your bottom line. Book a demo with DTiQ today, and let’s discuss what we can do for your business.

Articles
Speakers
Share
Or simply highlight text to share

Convenience store customer engagement trends — a comprehensive guide

Posted
October 27, 2023
by
Katie McCann
Share
In This Article
Subscribe
Get a weekly newsletter with resources, tools, and articles personalized to your business.
Build your DTiQ Weekly
See how DTiQ can transform your multi-location operations.
Book a demo

If you manage a convenience store and have growth on your mind, you need to prioritize one thing above all else: customer engagement. Maximizing convenience store customer engagement is key to scaling your business, avoiding churn, and optimizing revenue.

The question is, how do you create a C-store customer experience that keeps patrons coming back? There is no single answer. To thrive in the c-store space, you must master convenience store marketing, engage with customers using advanced tech, and provide a frictionless in-store experience.

Our convenience store customer engagement guide features actionable insights about the latest trends that you can use to boost customer loyalty, bolster your bottom line, and stand out from the competition.

The Significance of Customer Engagement in Convenience Stores

Convenience store customer engagement is how you create relationships with your customer base. Maximizing engagement is an ongoing process that involves:

  • Gathering customer feedback
  • Altering your service model
  • Offering incentives to encourage repeat business
  • Being responsive to the needs of your patrons

Convenience businesses that excel at meeting customer needs enjoy high engagement, more conversions, and better profitability.

Conversely, convenience retailers that fail to prioritize customer engagement will struggle to acquire new customers. Consequently, they will experience fewer store visits than their consumer-centric counterparts.

Let’s consider a real-world example. On average, gas station c- stores receive 300 visitors per day. However, only 35% of those customers actually go inside the store and make a purchase. The rest simply pump gas and get back on the road.

In our scenario, suppose that you use a mix of marketing strategies, new products, and mobile device ordering services to increase that figure to 45% (135 people per day). These additions translate to an additional 600 customers per month.

Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Engagement

Technology holds the key to cultivating a better c-store customer experience. Integrating modern technologies into your convenience store marketing, audience retargeting, and in-store checkout processes will significantly increase engagement and help you generate more revenue.

Over the past decade, convenience stores across the country have been gradually investing in digital transformation. However, the pandemic sent this process into overdrive, leading to the adoption of new strategies like online ordering and curbside delivery. By adopting these tactics, convenience stores weathered the pandemic and continued to provide customers with a frictionless experience.

By following suit, you can compete with top c-stores like 7-Eleven and Circle K and better serve your customer base.

Mobile Apps and Loyalty Programs

According to Statista, a staggering 81% of convenience store patrons spend four minutes or less shopping in c-stores. Roughly one-third of customers spend two minutes or less shopping. This means you have only a few minutes to engage with customers and make a lasting impression — unless you have a mobile app and loyalty program, that is.

Launching a loyalty program and managing it through a mobile app allows you to stay engaged with customers long after they have left your store. By periodically running deals and targeting patrons with custom offers, you can encourage them to purchase more frequently. If you play your cards right, they will spend more during each transaction, too, which is great for your bottom line.

Contactless Payments and Self-Serve Kiosks

Keeping up with customer needs will help you improve engagement and loyalty. One important trend is the increased demand for contactless payments. CNBC found that over half of Americans regularly use digital wallets and contactless payment tools. If you don’t already accept contactless payment, it’s time to start.

Installing self-service kiosks is another great way to limit profit tanking and circumvent staffing issues. Doing so allows you to streamline the checkout experience and remove obstacles from the purchasing process.

Convenience Store Delivery Technology

Sometimes, customers want to purchase something from your store but don’t want to leave the house. Integrating delivery technology into your business model makes your products more accessible and helps you reach a wider audience. This tactic can also assist you in acquiring new customers, especially if your nearby competitors don’t offer any delivery services.

On-Demand Delivery Services

Partnering with popular delivery service providers like Uber and DoorDash is one of the easiest ways to start offering deliveries. This approach places very little burden on your staff but can lead to a huge increase in order volume and frequency.

You can also turn your c-store into an e-commerce delivery pick-up location by partnering with Amazon. When customers stop in to pick up their Amazon package from your store, they will probably pop in and make a purchase, too.

Food Service in Convenience Stores

For years, convenience store food services were limited to hot dogs and boiled peanuts. Today, customers expect more from the local c-store.

Offering a wider range of high-quality food options can help you attract new customers and expand your audience. While it is important not to overstretch your staff, you should integrate several hot food items into your menu.

Fresh and Healthy Choices

When reevaluating your food services, make sure to accommodate the health-conscious crowd. There are lots of busy commuters out there who want to eat fresh, healthy food while on the go.

It is important not to try to please everyone. Stocking too many niche food items can lead to inventory management nightmares. With that in mind, gather data about customer needs and select healthy options that will appeal to as many people as possible.

Convenience Store Self-Checkout Procedure and Security

Self-checkout kiosks enhance convenience and customer engagement. Consumers seem to have gotten on board, with 85% of shoppers having used self-checkout machines.

However, it is important that you remain security-minded when implementing your self-checkout procedures. Otherwise, you will experience a spike in theft.

Ensuring Self-Checkout Security

Digital security solutions are the easiest way to ensure self-checkout security. Installing high-quality cameras and monitors in the self-checkout area will deter any would-be thieves. And if theft does occur, your camera system will help you identify the culprit and prevent it from recurring.

Self-Service Kiosks and Checkout Options

When implementing new technologies into your checkout process, make sure to give your customers a few options. Some solutions to consider include:

Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks are one of the most popular checkout solutions. They expedite the checkout process and allow your customers to get on with their day sooner. These kiosks also reduce your staffing needs, thus decreasing your labor expenses as well.

Scan-and-Go and Mobile Checkout

Another self-service option is a scan-and-go mobile app. These apps allow customers to scan items as they shop, pay for them using their digital wallets, and simply walk out when they are done. This has become a popular tool in large retail stores, but it’s also gaining traction among c-store owners.

C-Stores and Digital Loyalty Programs

Digital loyalty programs enhance customer engagement and retention by gamifying the shopping experience. When you reward them for each purchase, they will be eager to make the next one.

Designing Effective Loyalty Programs

An effective loyalty program should be fun as well as easy to enroll in and use. Additionally, the rewards need to be meaningful and relevant.

The 7-Eleven 7REWARDS program is a great example. It provides exclusive deals, awards customers points, and requires them to use the mobile app. 7-Eleven has also made it easy for users to sign up. If you are unsure where to start with your plan, consider modeling it after 7REWARDS.

Once you have built a great program, create a convenience store marketing plan to encourage your customers to sign up. What good is your program if no one knows about it?

The Role of Security Solutions

You must be mindful of security concerns whenever you revamp your business model or integrate new technology into the customer experience. Adding new tech to your c-store can make things more convenient for your customers, but it also makes your business model more vulnerable. Fortunately, you can ensure customer trust and safety while embracing new tech by installing some modern security solutions.

Surveillance and Customer Safety

When it comes to maximizing customer safety, surveillance systems are some of the best tools at your disposal. Security cameras give you a 360-degree view of what’s going on in your c-store, whether you are on-site or handling other responsibilities.

Surveillance solutions don’t just keep you in the loop; they also make your customers feel safe. If you want customers to perceive your c-store as a great place to shop, make security a priority during your digital transformation.

Future Trends in C-Store Customer Engagement

Two emerging trends in c-store customer engagement include:

Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping

Augmented reality shopping technology is catching on among retailers in almost every space. AR tech simultaneously engages and entertains customers, leading to a memorable shopping experience.

Personalized AI Chatbots

AI chatbots can provide customers with personalized assistance without bogging down your staff. Chatbots could offer information about products, assist with returns, and more.

Convenience Store Engagement Solutions With DTiQ

Cultivating a memorable c-store customer experience requires a multifaceted approach that combines tech, in-store tactics, and dynamic marketing campaigns. Digital c-store solutions play a particularly important role in optimizing engagement and retention. If you are ready to embrace these trends to increase convenience store customer engagement, you must align yourself with the right technology partners.

At DTiQ, we provide specialized security solutions for convenience and grocery stores that will help you improve customer satisfaction, protect your patrons, and proactively identify threats to your bottom line. Book a demo with DTiQ today, and let’s discuss what we can do for your business.

THE AUTHOR
Katie McCann
Manager, Content & Communications
Meet Katie, the creative force behind content and communications for DTiQ. When she's not at work, you'll find her soaking up the great outdoors with her four-legged sidekick or breaking it down in a spin class. But it's not all hustle – she knows how to kick back and enjoy some quality time with her friends, especially when there's charcuterie involved.

Transform your operations today