Things are always changing—some quickly, some slowly. At ADD Systems, we recognize the importance of keeping up with industry trends and standards. As a software partner, one of our most important jobs is to keep you on top of what’s changing, and help you use it to your advantage. It’s not enough to avoid being left behind. You need to get ahead.
With that in mind, here are some past trends that have become energy distribution and convenience store industry standards:
Today’s consumers demand convenience. They want a quick and easy way to do business with you. Web self-service offers your customers 24-hour immediate access, and a site where they can view their transaction history, print statements or invoices, make payments, schedule appointments, and much more. Having a web portal allows customers to find the information they need at any given time, giving your CSRs more time to spend on other important tasks.
The best way to stay relevant with your customers is to communicate. The expectation of customer service is growing to include more automation and tailored content. Customers want promotional offers related to their interests and needs, as well as reminders of upcoming appointments and delivery and service confirmations. More and more companies today are using email and text messages to communicate this information with customers.
Wireless Delivery and Service
The road and the office aren’t separate entities anymore. Drivers and service technicians need to stay connected at all times. With access to real-time information, they can make informed decisions and provide excellent, efficient customer service. Drivers and technicians can also collect documentation for important Gas Checks and leak and pressure tests along with pictures and videos for customer records.
Companies are always looking for technology to address hard-to-forecast customers or locations. Tank monitoring is a wireless or hard-wired device that electronically transmits daily tank readings. Having this information at your fingertips virtually eliminates the possibility of a run-out situation, and allows you to optimize routes and better serve customers.
Paper checks have been phased out over the years. Various kinds of electronic payments are an efficient and cost-effective way to handle payments with your customers online, not to mention a great way to shorten your accounts receivable cycle!
There’s a lot of road out there, so route efficiency matters. Optimized routes are the best way to ensure drivers don’t get lost on new routes, deliveries stay on schedule, and the maximum number of deliveries are made in the fewest number of miles and the least amount of time. Every mile and minute saved is a dollar earned.
Companies are interested in working smart. Data analysis and Business Intelligence give business owners the ability to mine their data and uncover new and informed ways to improve business. Key reports and analysis can be automatically emailed to your managers, allowing you to focus on the exceptions and save time by not weeding through pages of reports.
Item-Level Inventory/Scan Data
Grocery stores have tracked their inventory at a detailed item-level for many years, and in recent years, convenience stores have begun to adopt this approach as well. As a result, more and more convenience stores can now see the true velocity of their merchandise with item ranking reports, turn reports, and powerful inventory controls to ensure the right product is in the right place at the right time. Benefit from financial incentives, and be more competitive, by automatically sharing your scan data with distributors, manufacturers and marketing firms.
Labor is a huge expense for convenience store owners, and wages continue to rise. Today, stores are leaning on sales data to draw insights into how to staff more efficiently. Reporting on store sales data provides a better outlook on weekly, monthly, yearly, and seasonal trends. This helps you determine your busiest times so that you can proactively staff your store with the proper number of employees.
Menu and Nutrition Labeling
With the new FDA regulations that have recently gone into effect, convenience store operators will need to provide more transparency to customers about nutrition information. Chains with foodservice operations are now required to provide calorie count information and additional details, if requested.
How ADD Systems Can Help
These are just a few of the trends that have developed into standards in the energy distribution and convenience store industries today, and of course, there are more trends emerging right now. But rest assured – ADD Systems will be watching for them, and updating our software to keep up.