Conexxus In the News

Common to all these threads, Gray said, is that Conexxus is in the middle. He compared the organization's strategy to a popsicle — the stick stays the same regardless of the flavor.

"If we provide the technological backbone, then and with the appropriate connectivity in there, it's up to the retailers to put together the flavors they want to put in that box," he said. "And if we do it really well, it becomes an endless landscape possibility. In fact, my objective is that this whole ecosystem should make connecting to another ecosystem a business decision, not a technical decision if we do it right.

"Our job at Conexxus is not to stop at the store. Our job at Conexxus is to make sure that with the new digital commerce frontiers, we can connect any other ecosystem out there," Gray added.

The annual Conexxus conference kicked off on Sunday, April 28, in Arlington, Texas. Bringing together great minds from the convenience store industry, the conference touches on a variety of pertinent topics, including artificial intelligence (AI), the digital landscape and more.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a step above other technologies because it not only collects data, but it also analyzes data. It’s a valuable tool to make use of, convenience-store retailers, technology suppliers and industry experts said during a panel at the Dover Fueling Solutions Accelerate Ahead conference in Austin, Texas, this week.

The 2024 Conexxus Annual Conference is a chance to stay on top of hot button issues such as AI, and also get a glimpse of the future. Preliminary agenda items include sessions that will address hot button issues such as artificial intelligence, EMV and achieving digital success — all of which are top of mind for many, if not all, convenience store retailers. These issues are also top of mind for me, not just as Convenience Store News' technology editor, but as a consumer as well.

Retail thought leaders—Clifton Dillman (Family Express), Erika Dykstra (formerly Jacksons) and Donnie Rhoads (The Convenience Group)—recently came together at Conexxus’ Think Tank v8.0 to explore several topics that have been on each of their minds. Their perspectives revealed insights into technology’s challenges and the opportunities they see for their businesses.

The two-day event gathered industry professionals from around the world to discuss technology trends impacting the convenience and mobility sectors.

Since the rise to fame of ChatGPT the issue of AI has become part of the mainstream conversation. For years, the service station industry has looked at ways of using AI to improve strategic decision-making and daily operations. A panel formed by Gray Taylor (Conexxus), Frodi Hammer (A2i Systems) and Fernando Carrasco (Locatium) highlighted how AI can help retailers choose the right location for a site, develop a pricing strategy, and decide where to place products inside a store. 

Most organizations will struggle with innovation. Conexxus provides convenience retailers with the tools they need to develop their own technology road map and plan for the industry’s future. Listen to the full NACS Convenience Matters podcast: The Future Is Here: Exploring Strategic Innovation – Episode 395

“Conexxus do a lot of work creating standards for the industry. What were your big takeaways from the event?” There was a major focus on innovation – how should a company organise itself and think in order to be innovative? Retailers were talking about trying to be innovative. And it's hard because it’s so resource intensive. You must structure your business around becoming innovative. That's were Conexxus plays a role with standards. If everyone followed them, it would be far easier to plug and play components. It would allow you to pilot and test much faster than today. Innovation doesn't necessarily come from retailers; it will always come from the market. If you want to be disruptive, you have to spend time and resources listening to your customers. The customer is still the king. 

Global standards benefit retailers no matter where they do business. “Even retailers doing business in one country benefit from global standards,” said Ian Brown, API strategy manager, IFSF. “Suppliers can implement one standard no matter the country of use which mean resources are freed from doing multiple developments for the same functionality.”

Beginning on day two and through the remainder of the conference, these committees and working groups will meet to finalize or continue to work in current projects and prioritize future projects.

In the education session “Self-Checkout: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” panelists from four leading convenience retailers—Coen Markets, Friendly Express, Parkland USA and Couche-Tard/Circle K—shared their experiences in implementing self-checkout technology in their stores, discussed the types of solutions they are using in these locations and provided insight into how this innovation changed the culture within their companies.