Asking whether or not your convenience store needs a mobile app is like asking whether it really needs to be all that convenient.
The answer is yes — for a variety of reasons.
Mobile apps allow retailers and consumers to do business from a smartphone. They are designed to make shopping easier for consumers.
Mobile apps allow c-stores to create more value for their shoppers, strengthen their brand, facilitate communication and engagement, increase loyalty, make use of social media channels, provide flexibility by bringing together e-commerce, social media and features like location sensitivity and — most important of all — keep consumers from going to their competitor’s store because they have an app and you don’t.
Mobile apps can prove a major plus when it comes to upgrading the shopping experience, as retailers can grab vital information about shoppers and even help guide them into purchasing.
A mobile app can help direct customers to your nearest store when they’re on the road.
Given the importance of customer loyalty in the c-store channel, combining ordering and loyalty benefits on the same app is a wise move.
Order Ahead Demand
Research is also showing consumers’ growing appetite for the added convenience. Datassential’s “2021 C-Store Foodservice Keynote Report” showed that c-store consumers want to be able to place their food orders before they arrive via an app. Fully 41% of customers told the firm that they want to be able to order ahead.
Chain executives are listening. Wawa has rolled out an app that allows consumers to order, pre-pay and pickup food, as well as choose delivery or curbside pickup. Many others have, as well.
C-stores have always struggled to get people to come inside from the gas pumps. Allowing them to order ahead via an app can make luring them inside largely irrelevant. While sales of smaller impulse items like candy bars and soda may suffer, the higher-ticket food items they can order remotely will in many cases make up for the loss.
Truckers and travelers often know exactly which stores they plan to stop at and what they want to eat. Apps allow these frequent drivers to get back on the road faster and avoid crowds.