ADD Systems’ Tracie Nall is an East Coast Sales Representative focused on growing our convenience store industry business. With over 25 years of convenience store and petroleum experience, Tracie has seen first-hand the rapid changes in industry trends and consumer expectations, including the move from full-service to self-service stations, pay at the pump, and the cultural shift to a more health-conscious society.
In her role at ADD Systems, one of Tracie’s main responsibilities is meeting with clients and prospects to discuss their challenges and suggest solutions that will help them grow their business to the next level. She explains, “With the industry changing so rapidly, it’s important for convenience store operators and petroleum marketers to take full advantage of their back office systems to be adaptive to those changes.”
Trends and Expectations
Some of the biggest trends in the convenience store and petroleum industries today stem from changes in consumer preferences. According to Tracie, these include:
- Expansion of foodservice operations
- Growth of healthy food options
- More availability of alternative fuels and electric charging stations
- Development of mobile apps for consumers (mobile ordering, loyalty, etc.)
The desire for efficiency in store operations is also driving change in the back and home office. Some changes taking place behind the scenes include:
- Continued consolidation of store chains
- Increased automation of time-consuming processes (inventory tracking, ordering, pricebook, etc.)
- More emphasis on big data and using analytics to make decisions
- Adoption of cloud-based services to increase efficiency and allow for better use of resources
Tracie adds, “While ADD Systems has offered cloud-based solutions since the mid 70’s, many POS and back-office software vendors are new to this approach. As a result, Cloud-based solutions have been rare up to this point, but the demand for them has grown tremendously.”
In the next five to ten years, Tracie sees big changes coming to the industry. As vehicles become more fuel efficient and the hybrid and electric car segments continue to grow, consumers will be looking for even more alternative fuel options. Store operators will also branch out to entice more visits into the store, including package pick-up lockers and enhanced mobile ordering capabilities.
Health-conscious consumers will drive the push for more fresh food options, and eventually, c-stores will become ‘one stop shop’ options for fresh food and other consumables. The demand for increased convenience will also create a need for operators to consider offering delivery services. Tracie explains, “Stores will have to compete by being able to meet the consumer where they are, and delivery services are a perfect fit to meet that need.”
The rise of the self-service kiosk will also drive labor reduction or reallocation in stores. Meanwhile, the increased regulation on cigarettes and other tobacco products has already had an impact on cigarette sales. Tracie predicts that “cigarette sales will continue to decline and another category will need to take its spot.”
As the convenience store and petroleum industries continue to evolve, c-store operators and petroleum marketers will need to quickly adapt to changes to stay competitive. ADD Systems is dedicated to providing our clients with the tools they need to operate efficiently and profitably, and Tracie will be here to provide insight that empowers our clients to stay ahead of the pack.