Convenience stores need to better utilise app technology

Gaps in convenience retail’s mobile app strategies and how they can better utilise technology are revealed in a new report.

The report, The Dawning of the Digital Convenience Store, by app platform Rovertown has revealed how tomorrow’s technology requires robust mobile apps and that convenience retail’s reliance on white-label apps could prove a barrier.

Jeffry Harrison, Co-Founder and President of Rovertown, said now is the time for retailers to seriously think about what they need from their mobile apps moving forward.

“Apps will be the connection point for the technology integrations that retailers turn to in order to enhance both the physical and digital customer experience. Convenience stores are experiencing their greatest opportunity ever with the dawning of app platforms.”

The report highlighted that during the pandemic there was a gap in convenience stores’ mobile app strategies.

“Despite widespread deployment of mobile apps in the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, many retailers’ apps lacked the functionality to serve customers who were suddenly fearful of shopping inside a physical store. Brands like Domino’s were prepared, however, having invested in digital commerce and delivery infrastructure during the prior decade,” stated the report.

Michael Rzeznik, Co-Founder and CTO of Rovertown, said the company’s goal is to generate important conversations within leadership teams to help them chart a path forward.

“The Dawning of the Digital Convenience Store takes a hard look at the direction in which digital innovation is trending and what roadblocks are standing in the way of convenience retailers.”

The report said that mobile apps must be relevant beyond narrow use cases, and that tailoring apps only around narrow use cases such as loyalty programs or fuel payments limits their appeal and relevance.

“Tomorrow’s technology requires robust mobile apps. From autonomous checkout to delivery, job recruiting, mobile ordering, made-to-order menu customization, eCommerce, subscription programs, and more, mobile apps will be a crucial interface that tomorrow’s customers will rely on as they interact with convenience retailers both on-and-off premise,” the report stated.

Suggested in the report was that convenience retail needs a “Shopify solution” since custom apps are too costly and cumbersome—and aren’t a realistic solution for the majority of the industry.

“While convenience retail has lacked a ‘Shopify solution’ and been limited to a choice between low-quality white-label apps or expensive custom apps, the recent introduction of app platforms has opened new opportunities to brands that aren’t served by either side of the existing solutions.”

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