How c-stores can use the technology take-over to maximize opportunities for customer service within their alcohol category.
With technological investments growing exponentially in the off-premise market, many advancements are also being made to serve customers better. However, all too often, customer service initiatives take a back seat to the technology investments made by businesses. Especially under the current market climate, the quick changes to tech and developments in the convenience business inherently reduce the time spent in-store and nearly, or entirely, eliminate human-to-human contact. While these initiatives are essential, they could be taking away some of the personal touches that drive loyalty and customer satisfaction, ultimately costing your business’s bottom line.
So, how can convenience stores work with the technology take-over to enhance their business and lean into top-notch customer service? Here are a few of our suggestions for making the most of customer service and technology.
Maximize your time
One of the best ways to enhance the customer experience is to simply dedicate more time to them. The best way to do that? Automation! In your alcohol category specifically, implementing technology for electronic invoicing simplifies the entire beverage alcohol management process, giving teams a jumping–off point for exponential ROI growth. The first benefit? Extensive and essential time savings. With Fintech, for example, alcohol invoices are paid automatically, so store-level managers no longer need to waste time prepping payment for deliveries. They sign the invoice and get back to serving your customers. Even better, electronic payments move delivery trucks out of your parking lot quicker – by an average of 15 minutes per delivery – so your customers aren’t prevented from accessing your store.
Automation in your alcohol category simplifies back-end tasks like invoice reconciliation and data uploads, giving store-level teams more time to be physically present with customers, and accounting, forecasting, and category teams the freedom to make high-level business decisions using clean data that focus less on recovery and more on growth. With more time, your business can focus on initiatives that explore new product offerings or enhance existing service platforms that help build the safest, easiest experience for consumers. When you eliminate timewasters like manual data entry or invoice reconciliation, you maximize the time you have for your staff and customers, ultimately leading to a better, more efficient business.
Today’s consumers have almost endless options for purchasing their alcohol. They can pantry stock at the grocery store, grab their favorite beer while they pump gas, even pick up a six-pack when they get dinner to-go. So how can off-premise retailers reasonably compete with the greater marketplace to attract and retain customers? The key is simply giving your customers a reason to stop! First, make sure to stock the correct products and packages that reflect buying behaviors and trends in your market, and be positive you’re offering them at the right price. With shortened in-store visits and a need to safely move in-and-out, customers aren’t likely to return if you don’t carry the products they want. Using technology, your store can maximize these opportunities for better service. Learn more about the tech available to help with product purchasing and placement in our blog, How C-Stores Can Maximize Basket Share Despite Shorter Visits.
Another way to attract and retain customers by using technology is to ramp up your loyalty rewards program. According to the C-Store Shopper Report, a study conducted by PDI, customer participation in loyalty rewards programs grew more than 600% between 2018 and 2019, and it’s reasonable to assume this number will only grow more as people look for safe, online product ordering and purchasing options. Capitalizing on the use of this technology gives you a highly desired way to reward your loyal customers, and allows you to view valuable search and purchase data so you can grow offerings that keep your location competitive through outstanding service.
Of course, there are thousands of tech advancements available to retailers looking to remain profitable in the current marketplace, but focusing on tools that build customer safety and satisfaction will prove to be the most valuable in providing outstanding service. Balancing these developments with other personalized initiatives, like at-pump service or curbside pickup, can bring new opportunities to better your overall customer experience, stay competitive, and increase profits.
Interested in learning how Fintech can help your convenience store build a safer, better, more profitable customer experience? Contact us today!