There are over 150,000 convenience stores in the United States today and that number is expected to grow over the next decade. In order to keep pace with consumer demand, the following changes are expected to occur within the convenience store industry:
Foodservice Evolution with Cloud-based Technology. Food sales are crucial for convenience stores, making up over 55 percent of sales. In order to meet the growing demands of expanded foodservice offerings, operators will, out of necessity, seek out improved technology to ensure food quality, while meeting Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points guidelines. Cloud-based foodservice monitoring technology offers continuous monitoring and recording of cold storage and preparation equipment. Operators can analyze performance and identify degrading equipment before a complete failure occurs, potentially saving thousands of dollars in inventory and emergency service calls. Cloud-based technology also offers continuous temperature monitoring, allowing operators to better maintain safe temperatures and reduce energy costs.
Mobile Payment at Point-of-Sale. New payment innovations are flooding the marketplace but there is yet to be a clear winner. As the mobile wallet market is expected to grow considerably, it will still be a smaller percentage of transactions as compared to credit and debit card transactions. Some of these mobile solutions benefit the consumer, while others the retailer. A viable solution would be a payment option that offers incentives and additional value for both parties. Integrating loyalty and personalized applications with smartphones will be the true driver of payment innovation in retail convenience stores. Any solution should allow operators to meet Payment Card Industry compliance, expand their offerings, increase their bottom line, stand out from the competition and meet the demands of the customer.
Advanced In-Store Network Technology. More operators will invest in sophisticated managed networks in order to increase efficiency, ensure security and remain competitive. Store operators need increased security to protect their business from skimmers and hackers. Their network must also comply with all Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requirements, as well as segment the cardholder data environment from the rest of the network. Moreover, store operators will also need to educate themselves on the U.S. implementation of EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa), a smartcard standard for secure debit and credit card payments. These new chip-based payment cards contain an embedded microprocessor. The recommended deadline to implement these standards is October 2015 for in-store transactions.
Convenience stores of the future will meet consumer demand above and beyond the gas pump. It will be equipped with the latest services and technologies enabling it to remain competitive, maintain security and increase profits. Are you interested in owning a convenience store business? You can find many convenience store businesses for sale right now.