Conexxus In the News

Conexxus kicked off its 2023 Annual Conference yesterday in Coronado, California. Through a mix of keynote speakers, education sessions and panel discussions, convenience retailers, suppliers and manufacturers heard from experts and their peers on the challenges facing the convenience industry and how innovation, adaptability and new technologies must be part of a company’s game plan.

Attendees on day one heard from two dynamic keynote speakers emphasizing how and why innovation and technology are critical to any business.

Over the past few years, convenience store retailers have ramped up their ability to have digital conversations with their customers. Now that the basics are in place for many industry players, it's time to think about the next steps.

A recent Conexxus webinar looked at ways of moving the customer experience forward.

"Most of the organizations in our industry, at least at some point in their growth, struggle with how to strategically innovate. The past few years have been a testament to this constant race, with the acceleration of technological changes amplifying across all aspects of our industry," Conexxus said.

Innovation came to life for the Conexxus Innovation Research Committee (IRC) during a recent field trip that members made to multiple sites in Austin, Texas. One of the hallmarks of the IRC is to experience what’s new for the industry firsthand.

A visit to a new TXB Store location in Georgetown, Texas, was on the list not only to taste its breakfast taco but also to see how an artificial intelligence pilot utilizing existing security camera system has progressed. Utilizing SparkCognition’s Visual AI Advisor solution, the insights from the location visit were intriguing and revealing.

About 60 percent of the convenience stores operating in the U.S. are single-store operators. With CDE's implementation of TruAge, these retailers will be able to benefit from the protection and effectiveness of the solution, by having the flexibility to implement the age-verification platform in a full range of POS environments.

"Now more than ever, c-store operators need to position their locations as a destination", Frieden stated during a Conexxus365 webinar State of Mobile Commerce in Convenience and Fuel. "Consumer confidence also continues to fall. We are almost approaching the lowest levels in 25 years."  At the same time, convenience retailers are competing for volume through enhancements in store environment, design, inside offerings (such as foodservice, private label, CBD and gaming), and mobile platforms.

One of the more thought-provoking questions posed during Conexxus 2022 was: “What keeps you up at night?” Attendees at the annual convenience and fuel retailing conference, held in May in Tucson, Arizona, were united in their concern for the customer experience. Petroleum retailers are seeking solutions that deliver a strong customer experience for everyone, not just at the pump but in the store. The question of how best to do that keeps many of them tossing and turning at night.

Here are four of my takeaways from the Conexxus event for consideration (and perhaps to help get some more sleep at night)...

"YEO Breakout Sessions: Understanding the Future of Retail Payment Systems,” discussed the demand for frictionless payments. Speakers Gray Taylor, executive director at Conexxus, and Jeremie Myhren, co-founder and chief information officer at ONRAMP and YEO board chairman, paved the way for further conversation on moving brick and mortar c-stores into the modern era.  Regarding digital platforms, Taylor said the big themes are that fundamental technologies drive digital life, digital life requires digital versions of real things and digital identity is the foundation of the future. He spoke about the Internet/Web of Things (IoT) and networked devices collecting and acting on real-time data. “The goal is to improve the customer experience with less and use deep learning to do it,” said Taylor.

As all small operators in the convenience store industry know, they wear many hats. This is something Lisa Dell'Alba, president and CEO of Bethlehem, Pa.-based Square One Markets Inc., knows all too well. But with the complexities of retail technology, should she also take on the role of IT director? In a recent virtual fireside chat with Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus, Dell'Alba pointed to the tech challenges associated with outdoor EMV upgrades and the addition of mobile pay.

Reynolds American Inc. announces support of the program, bolstering the national effort to make the process of age-verification at all points of sale more reliable and secure.