Would You Like Wi-Fi With That?

Wi-Fi is a trendy offering customers are clamoring for, and it’s starting to appear at more c-store locations, including BP, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes and Rutter’s Farm Stores, especially as chains expand their foodservice programs and look for new ways to pull foot traffic into the store. Coffee shops, such as Starbucks have long

Social Networking Takes Retail by Storm

Speedy Personalized DealsChristianna Frizzell, customer relationship manager for Speedway SuperAmerica, said the best online responses will come from email blasts and text message campaigns if you know your demographic and keep contact timely and relevant. It can also be helpful to look at how customers are contacting you. For example, are they emailing or calling

Securing the Store

C-store operators are increasingly turning to advanced electronics to help stem the time of theft both internally and externally, including “smart” surveillance cameras and Internet-based security systems that can prompt and warn cashiers and track and record every store transaction. Stuart Levine, CEO of The Zellman Group in Port Washington, N.Y., a nationwide retail and

Empowering Foodservice Customers

The latest technologies being used to manage c-store foodservice programs—from touchscreens and POS ordering terminals to digital signage—are allowing marketers to enhance communications and streamline operations. Touchscreens communicate the menu in a very efficient way. This is especially important as chains look to build incremental sales and make more subtle changes like expanding the number

Fighting Credit Card Costs

Is there relief ahead for exorbitant credit card fees? The answer is yes. But first, there’s a fight to be fought. According to NACS in Alexandria, Va., credit card payments have grown from 21% of transactions in 1995 to 49% today, with the trend expected to grow to more than 50% by next year. The

Progressive POS Solutions

Speed of service is crucial, of course, but with all the services that convenience stores offer today communication—between machines—is key. From gas pumps and safes to back-office software and lottery terminals, operators are finding that integrating them with their point-of-sale (POS) systems leads to greater accuracy, efficiency and profitability. Mary Vinson, director of operations for

Cultivating Customers Through Loyalty

Customer Commitment The biggest hurdle some retailers face when implementing a loyalty program is getting customers to notice the many benefits. When Mid-State Petroleum launched its loyalty offering last November company Vice President Tony Perez launched a promotion to give away $10,000 in rewards at each of his locations. New customers received a $5 reward

Vendors Help Prepaid Prosper

Prepaid services are revolutionizing the way customers do business today. From unbanked customers to students and others looking to reduce their outstanding debt, prepaid debit cards and bill pay services offer customers a payment solution without the drawback of monthly interest charges. Retailers agree that choosing a vendor that will work with your chain to

The High Stakes of Compliance

Convenience store operators must stop thinking of Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance as a nuisance to be handled when they have time. It is a serious, costly, complex fact of life—one that can potentially put an operator out of business and one that must be faced head on. It was in September 2006 that the

Data Security Standards: Are You Prepared?

PCI compliance deadlines continue to barrel toward the convenience store industry, yet many operators are still not up to speed on precisely what they need to do, or how to do it. The Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), developed by the PCI Security Standards Council and endorsed by American Express, Discover Financial Services,

Safe at the Store

The times necessitate that store systems do more–and few store systems are more crucial to a retailer’s success than cash handling and security. While retail technology has focused on point-of-sale (POS) systems that integrate everything from transaction accounting to inventory management, one of the most recent areas of opportunity involves the integration of cash handling

Enhancing Store Security

Prepaid Sales Surging

Whether it’s phone cards, credit cards or prepaid gaming cards being promoted by 7-Eleven, prepaid sales are hot, and retailers would be wise to get in on the action. For example, c-store operators with a high number of ethnic customers could capitalize on the growing reloadable cell phone card market. The top destinations for overseas

Role of Technology Expanding

Whether it’s PCI compliance, overcoming high credit card fees or getting more out of a current point-of-sale (POS) system, investing in technology has never been more important for c-stores. With PCI compliance deadlines looming, many operators are still not up to speed on what they need to do, or how to do it. The Payment

Prepaid Cards: The Sky’s the Limit

Prepaid cards have been used in the U.S. for about 20 years, and forward-thinking marketers continue finding new ways to use and promote them. This is a boon for convenience retailers, many of whom have been instrumental in growing the category. Prepaid cards were invented in Europe in the mid-70s when Italians found themselves short

Cooler Control

Operators looking for greater energy efficiency should cast an eye on their coolers, where centralized controls, lighting adjustments, basic ongoing maintenance and employee training can save them money. “Coolers are typically an opportunity for improvements in maintenance and operational practices,” said Jerry Lawson, national manager for Energy Star Small Business and Congregations Network, a division

Choosing the Right ATM

With the number of ATMs in service across America rising and their average transaction dipping for a decade, convenience store operators face a variety of choices in how they choose to deploy them. Viewed as revenue generators or simply services for customers, cash machines present c-store executives with a variety of options and challenges, beginning

What’s Your Solution?

SKU SLEUTH … Rick Cosmer, vice president of retail sales and operations at Mansfield Oil Co. in Georgia, has found cutting-edge back-office systems can offer huge payoffs in terms of data analysis and sales tracking. Cosmer said the most powerful piece of his system allows him to drill down J.D. to individual products to determine

Pumping Up In-Store Sales

A busy salesman on the way to his next appointment pulls into a Spinx convenience store to fill up his tank. It’s almost 1 p.m. and he hasn’t stopped since his day began just before 9 a.m. While pumping fuel, he glances at the color monitor built into the gas pump. He looks closer at

Marketing the Forecourt

When it comes to convenience stores, every square inch of selling space is precious real estate. And when the inside of a store is fully merchandised, the only place left to go is the forecourt area. Some convenience store retailers have always made good use of the forecourt area—whether or not it featured fuel pumps—to

Remerging Technology?

Zip back to Nov. 4, 2008, when CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer seemed smitten by some techno-spice his network rolled out during its coverage of the presidential election. It went like this: A 3D image of a CNN correspondent in Chicago was beamed to the network’s New York headquarters, where she appeared in-studio as a hologram.

Securing the Convenience Store

Security remains an ongoing concern for convenience store operators, but new technologies and approaches are offering some great help. And great help is a great asset, because there is a lot of work to be done. Bad economic times mean increases in petty theft at retail. In fact, U.S. retailers lost $34.8 billion in stolen

PCI Compliance: Practical Application for Convenience Retailers

Data breaches, hefty fines and bad publicity are just three of the concerns retailers should have when it comes to PCI compliance. But many retailers still don’t understand what PCI compliance is and what’s required of them. To address this important, timely issue, Convenience Store Decisions and Fiscal Systems have launched the PCI Compliance Webcast

Progress in Processing

Convenience store operators’ turbulent relationship with the credit card industry is set to enter a new phase in 2009 as a pair of legislative initiatives—one for consumers, the other a point of serious contention for retailers—come front and center. From both angles, facing off with credit card companies over the huge profits they’ve been reaping

When Grocery Meets Gas, Customers Swoon

Terry Johnson figured the Uppy’s convenience store chain was on to something good when folks started chatting to each other at the gas pumps. "Nobody does that, unless you know somebody else," said Johnson, vice president of marketing at the Richmond, Va.-based Uppy’s. "It’s kind of like when you’re in an elevator—you just don’t talk

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