When customers enter a convenience store, they expect to get what is implied in the name: convenience. This is the reason why unplanned downtime in stores can seriously damage the customer experience and cause brand reputational damage. Whether it be Point-of-Sale software malfunction or software patches and updates being incorrectly applied to other devices in the store, the disruption caused can often lead to lost customers and revenue
As Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease and customers steadily return to in-store shopping with new found confidence, the importance of maintaining uptime in stores cannot be underestimated. For example, a recent survey from NACS highlights that over half of c-store retailers (52%) expect “summer travel and commuting patterns will be close to pre-pandemic levels.”
The pandemic forced retailers to adapt their businesses to new consumer buying habits, from the physical design and layout of stores through to the latest checkout technologies as they rushed to make the shopping experience as safe and frictionless as possible. Now that the dust has settled, many are realizing that these changes, such as Buy Online Pick up at Curbside (BOPAC), home delivery and self-checkout, placed a heavy burden on the legacy IT infrastructure. The result has often been ‘workarounds’ with the incumbent technology stack and therein lies the problem.
We recently commissioned a third-party survey through Censuswide to poll 100 U.S. IT managers and store operations managers from large convenience and convenience fuel retail (CFR) stores to better analyze the true repercussions of IT downtime. The survey identified that 98% of respondents interviewed have had to deal with store system failure, demonstrating how prevalent this issue is across the industry.
From point of sale (POS) failure to glitches in the store controller, payment controller, fuel controller and self-checkout systems, the complex store IT infrastructure, common in many c-store retail operations, makes implementation delivery and management of software difficult on multiple types of devices and a major operational challenge.