Archive for the “Convenience Stores” Category

Getting More Dollars from Your Data (or How to Compete with a Ghost) 

Remaining competitive in the digital space means leveraging data to boost your business at every opportunity. You might be surprised to learn just how much actionable information is at your fingertips if you know how to mine the data available to you.  

For the convenience store operator looking to stand out from the competition, data can answer some key questions: Who is your competition, and how can you overcome their strategies to own the customer? 

I recently had the chance to address a wonderful crowd at the Outlook Leadership Conference about this very issue. 

Who is your competition? 

Calculating how to best compete begins with knowing who you are competing against. You can start by putting yourself in the place of the customer along the customer journey. A customer has a need and undertakes a search to fill it. The search can be a neighborhood walk, a driving search or, increasingly, an online search.​ 

Not long ago I tried this myself. I looked on Yelp for fuel near me and found 10 locations – but a closer look revealed only four competitors since many carry the same flag. Similarly, a search for coffee brought up 86 locations. And a broader search for food gave me a whopping 130 locations within two miles – and when I switched over to Doordash and Grubhub another 36 locations showed up that weren’t on Yelp.  

But wait. Why do DoorDash and Grubhub have listings that aren’t on Yelp? Well, some of those are “ghost kitchens.” This is a term that’s cropped up a lot lately and one that is having a major impact on any company dealing with delivery. I discovered two brands I had never seen before Guy Fieri’s flavortown kitchen and Mr. Beast Burger. It turns out they are virtual brands where you can only buy their food through delivery services (no dine-in) and the food is prepared in the kitchen of a well-known Italian chain Bertucci’s.   

Three types of Ghost Kitchens are currently flourishing: Virtual brands like Guy Fieri’s; restaurants that are growing into new regional markets and trying out new brands; and third-party aggregators themselves, like DoorDash and Uber Eats. This means you have actually been battling for customers against competitors you couldn’t even see unless you went looking in your phone. That kind of competition calls for a significant digital strategy on your part. 

How can you compete? 

How can any brand compete on the delivery marketplaces when there are 166 listings within a 2 mile radius?  What will it take to get to the top of search listings? It seems some brands are stacking the deck with ghost kitchens so they show up if you search for “Italian,” or “chicken” or “burgers.” This seems like a daunting task for any brand. What makes more sense is to change the rules to a game that is easier to understand, control and measure; you should own the customer. 

How can you own the customer? 

Now you know who you are competing with – and everyone is in a fight to own the customer. Fortunately, the data behind the most successful brands tells us their secrets.  

  • Anchor with a Strong Loyalty Program. Adhere to the key design principles of loyalty programs. Keep the program simple. Make it easy to enroll and easy to understand the program, track your points, and see daily deals and limited time offers. This will give you the insight and information you need to create the programs that keep customers coming back.  
  • Hone Your Ordering Strategy. Implement first-party ordering​ with a website and mobile app – but use third-party aggregators for delivery and customer acquisition​. A first-party system gives you complete control while also enabling you to keep the customer information. Also important is to offer a choice of fulfillment. Today’s customers expect the option to choose from takeout, curbside, or delivery.  
  • Make Payment Easy. Ensure a painless payment process whether your customer is in person, visiting your online store, or ordering via mobile app. Leveraging Apple Pay and Google Payments (which is currently fee-free) can mean high conversion rates, speedy checkouts, and few errors. You also want to integrate your loyalty program with ordering so people can easily earn and redeem rewards. 
  • Personalize through Artificial Intelligence​. AI can do incredible things, when used properly. We focus on what we call AI to IAsm, that is, using artificial intelligence to drive individual action. It can help you target the best times for reaching out and recapturing lapsed customers and can even predict a lapse before it happens. It can help you identify the best day of the week for offers and discounts – without compromising profits or traffic. And it can tailor campaigns to your individual guests based on their behavior.  

Today’s marketplace is a double-edged sword – the pressure on businesses to compete with data and tech is higher than ever, but emerging tools are giving you the means to do so.  

Do you have questions about how you can better leverage data to benefit your business? Paytronix would love to hear from you. Get in touch today. 

Making Third-Party Aggregators Work for You

Have you been puzzling over how to leverage third-party order aggregators to best serve your business? You’re not alone! Fortunately, a data-informed examination of how businesses benefit from these platforms points to some key strategies that help clear the way forward, toward a more profitable approach.

A recent Paytonix webinar, How to Get More First-Party Orders, examines the trends and tools you need to know about.

Choose the right tools to help you manage third-party orders.

Huge numbers of customers are turning to third-party aggregators as their first source of information in deciding what they are going to eat. With an estimated 37 percent of the restaurant customer base reporting that they order food for takeout or delivery at least twice per week, getting the tools right is a critical first step.  […]

Customizing and Optimizing Your Online Menu

Woman lying on couch using food delivery app on smartphone. Close up of african woman hands holding cellphone and ordering food online. Girl using smart phone to get home delivered take away lunch.With digital ordering dominating the industry, perfecting the online menu is more important than ever. Fortunately, there are some basic strategies you can adopt to have a real impact on sales.

Here are some key highlights from a recent Paytronix webinar, Customizing Your Online Menu. 

 

 

 

  • Menu variant testing will play a huge role in helping brands find the best layout. You might be wondering, “How different can an online menu really be?” You’ll be surprised, and even minor changes can make a big difference. Menu variant testing allows you to set up multiple variations and test them all at once. And given that this tool enables you to try infinite combinations to bump up profits, why reserve it for a rollout every few years? Paytronix has found that that performing regular menu testing allows you to make the most of it.

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Summer travelers stock up on ice, drinks, and dreams

Young women with American flag driving a yellow convertibleAs the national economy continues to rebound from the COVID-19 crisis, Americans are hitting the road in droves: more than 47 million will travel this July 4 weekend, according to AAA. After more than a year of cancelling plans because of the virus, consumers are ready to celebrate this summer, meaning anticipated travel this coming weekend is up 40% year over year – the second-highest rate of Independence Day travel on record.

And while some are jumping back on planes, the vast majority are jumping behind the wheel instead. Americans – 91% – are loading up the proverbial station wagon, blasting the radio, and getting out of dodge the old-fashioned way. That’s the most car travel AAA has ever recorded for the July 4 holiday.

Now, it wouldn’t be a road trip without a stop for gas, so convenience stores should prep for heavy traffic, both at the pump and in the store, which raises the question: what are these travelers buying? […]