The convenience store industry has continuously proved it is one of the most adaptable and resilient industries as they’ve overcome difficult operational obstacles during the pandemic. However, there are still challenges today that continue to present their own concerns. Here are three challenges that c-stores will face in 2022, and how to solve them.
Since the pandemic, c-stores have faced significant labor challenges due to employee turnover and increasing wages. This has led many managers to assist in performing frontline workers’ duties to keep the c-store running smoothly. It is not surprising this challenge has c-store owners and operators looking into automating low-value tasks like cash handling to help reduce costs and boost efficiency while keeping employees in-store and focused on higher-value tasks.
“The biggest issue when it comes to labor is not the cost of labor, it is the availability of labor,” says Lenny Evansek, senior vice president of national retail business development. “Cash activities at the start of and end-of-shift are a time-consuming process, especially for c-stores, and when you add in unnecessary trips to the bank for deposits and change, cash handling can take up a significant part of your employee’s time that could be better spent on core job responsibilities.”
There is now a solution that can automate virtually all cash activity within their store with one turn-key solution: recyclers. Loomis’s SafePoint Titan R recyclers help c-stores optimize their cash management by giving owners the ability to access the funds they need at all hours. This is vital for c-stores that often operate 24 hours a day and send staff to the bank multiple times a day to make deposits or get change. Smart safes can save managers 45 minutes to an hour and a half per day depending on the size of the business. However, with cash and coin recyclers, the time savings can be upwards of 3-5 hours.
Bank Branch Closures
An often overlooked challenge for c-store operators is the obstacles brought on by bank branch consolidation. According to S&P Global, 5,231 branches closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2,927 branch closures happening in 2021 alone. This has led to a permanent shift in how financial institutions operate and conduct business with commercial clients. Because of this shift, c-stores have now been faced with having to open new/more banking relationships, pay increased fees for necessary services such as over-the-counter deposits, or make longer drives to the bank, keeping managers out of the store more than before.
Prior to all the bank branch closures, many c-stores still went to the bank for deposits and change despite the increased risk and loss of productivity. However, between the cost of labor, less staff in-store, increased banking fees, and longer drives it is now more cost- and time-effective to use a solution like recyclers. Cash is as good as money in the bank once it is in the safe. Recyclers automatically count and secure cash and coin until an armored car picks it up while providing the c-store daily provisional credit, all while reducing risk to employees and cash.
Rising Credit Card Fees
Accepting credit cards is important for any business. While many voices claim that cash is more expensive than other payment methods, credit card transaction fees can cost a business 2.25-3.5 percent of sales. However, with a solution like Loomis’s SafePoint, an operator’s cost of a cash transaction is one percent or lower.
“Worker shortages, higher wages, banking closures, and rising credit card fees are not temporary issues that are going away,” says Evansek. “Waiting and thinking that the situation will correct itself will only prolong the problem. Banking centers will continue to close and consolidate, credit card fees will rise, and the worker shortage could be generational and not just COVID-related.”
These challenges should be addressed sooner rather than later for c-stores looking to maximize their staff and reduce time-consuming and costly tasks. To learn more about automating your c-store’s cash management, visit loomis.us/cashrecycling.
Sponsored content by Loomis