According to a report by the Convenience Technology Vision Group (CTVG), technological advancements are set to shape the retail landscape of convenience stores. The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the industry forward in terms of technology-enabled customer experiences such as mobile ordering, self-checkout, curbside pickup, and delivery. As consumers resume commuting and commuting, there continues to be momentum towards a digital transformation in retail that connects the digital experience to traditional shopping journeys.
The latest CTVG Vision Report titled “Tech Trailblazing” outlines multiple technological advances that will impact convenience retailers. One significant area of focus is artificial intelligence (AI). While AI has already had a considerable impact and has the potential to be game-changing, it is important to recognize its limitations and understand that it cannot replace human intelligence entirely. However, AI can help with administrative tasks such as inventory turns and assist employee-customer connections by showing existing employees how they can improve and helping onboard new employees with customer engagement tactics.
Another area where technology can help convenience retailers is increasing shift flexibility through smartphone apps. Retailers across all segments are looking to add scheduling flexibility in a bid to combat labor shortages. Circle K taps into the gig economy with an app where workers sign up for shifts. This approach gives them an additional pool of workers who can work different shifts for them while segmenting it by task.
Lastly, data collection is another critical area discussed by CTVG members. With volatility in consumer behavior regarding personal information sharing, it’s essential to question what information companies should collect when pursuing personalized shopping experiences for customers. Younger generations appear highly comfortable complying with requests for personal data if they understand the benefits that come from sharing their information.
To put a period on things, According to sources familiar with the matter, CTVG sees channel retailers as tech trailblazers who will continue shaping the retail landscape through innovative technological advancements like AI-powered systems and flexible shift scheduling applications while being mindful of data privacy concerns at all times.