Were you able to join us for the live webinar “Convenience Trends to Watch for in 2024?” If not, be sure to check out the summary below or view the on-demand webinar here.
The NACS-sponsored webinar featured PDI COO Linnea Geiss along with industry experts Jeff Hassman, PDI VP Product Strategy and Partnerships, and Justin Baxley, PDI VP, Retail Product Management.
The trio discussed the top trends that will impact the fuel and convenience retail industry in 2024, sharing their predictions on what businesses should expect. They also provided guidance and insights from industry research, including the latest version of the PDI “Tracking Convenience Report: From the Pump to the C-Store” based on data and analysis from PDI and GasBuddy.
Three key trends that will heavily impact the global convenience industry in 2024 include:
- Technology’s growing role in operational excellence: With evolving labor challenges, convenience retailers should be investing in technologies that integrate easily with their existing systems to reduce complexity and help their employees operate with more efficiency and productivity.
- The need to deliver more valuable consumer experiences: As many consumers remain leery of inflation and high prices, c-stores must be able to engage shoppers with more relevant, compelling, and personalized experiences that will ultimately benefit consumers, retailers, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands.
- E-mobility and EV readiness: The ongoing energy transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) will create both challenges and opportunities for c-stores that want to remain a strategic destination for consumers looking to fuel up as well as charge their EVs.
One overarching element in the changing convenience landscape is the need to leverage open architectures that improve technology integration, leading to a more connected convenience ecosystem. The ability to simplify the entire supply chain will make it much easier for retailers to adapt faster, regardless of changing economic conditions and evolving consumer behaviors.
Bonus predictions for convenience trends in 2024
In the lead-up to the webinar, we asked several PDI business leaders to share their predictions on what convenience store industry trends to look for in 2024. Here’s what they had to say.
Greater data scale and quality
“Mass marketing will generate diminishing returns, so great brands will need to create more relevant, authentic, long-term connections that the consumer helps control. Although AI will provide new opportunities for even small chains to speak to consumers in a more personal way, early adopters will struggle unless they have enough data scale and quality for such an operation.” – Greg Crow, VP Insights
The potential of generative AI
“As we head into the new year, I’m excited and inspired by the potential of generative AI. Marketing leaders are finding new ways to automate tasks and increase capacity, unlocking creativity at scale, and helping their teams craft more customized, dynamic content than ever before—all while ensuring quality and consistency. During 2024, our marketing toolkit and skillset will undergo a massive evolution.” – Bethany Allee, SVP, Marketing and Education
Collaborative opportunities for retailers and CPG brands
“Digital advertising is highly targeted, but with changes to how consumer data can be used, marketers are getting more creative with their approaches. Retailers with loyalty programs are sitting on a ton of first-party data that brands need in order to spend their promotional dollars on the right audiences. The ability to connect that data provides a collaborative opportunity for retailers to start their own advertising relationships with brands.” – Mel Belew, VP Brand Strategy and Client Operations
An elevated EV charging experience
“The longer charge times associated with EV charging present a unique business opportunity. Savvy convenience retailers can help their customers transition into an EV charging experience that meets or exceeds their fuel buying experience. For example, they can create loyalty programs designed for EV charging—with benefits akin to today’s most popular gas rewards programs. They can also offer affinity packages, such as foodservice discounts or promotions, that match the unique demographics of EV drivers.” – Linnea Geiss, Chief Operating Officer
The growth of retailer “media networks”
“More and more retailers and brands are realizing the importance of data to make important decisions and simplify store operations. As retailers continue to invest in data collection, processing, and sharing technologies, they are also creating their own ‘media networks’ with in-store digital displays, kiosks, and mobile apps. CPG brands will spend money on these store media networks to show highly relevant ads to consumers at the time of purchase.” – Mukul Vyas, Director, Product Management
More robust security measures
“Securing consumer trust and safeguarding c-store networks will remain critical imperatives in 2024. Delivering even more robust security innovations that can stand up to quickly evolving global cyberthreats will enable retailers to thrive within a challenging threat landscape.” – Chris Berry, Chief Technology Officer and President, Security Solutions
Personalized experiences at scale
“Across diverse international markets, we see different speeds in the adoption of new business models, but the common thread is increasing operational efficiency. Intelligent technologies will help us better understand regional nuances in consumer behaviors and preferences. The goal is tailored, personalized experiences at scale.” – Dawn Desai, SVP and GM, Enterprise Productivity
More as-a-service solutions
“It’s all about data and AI. Retailers want to know how to catch more mice versus hearing about a new mouse trap. The democratization of technology will accelerate, and retailers will expect tech providers to deliver smaller businesses the same experiences once reserved only for big businesses. Expect more solutions as a service and managed services, as well as lighter, faster, and more reliable tech offerings.” – Ben Jatlow, SVP Sales, Consumer Engagement
Position your business for continued success
By “Connecting Convenience” across the industry ecosystem, PDI can help you and your business succeed regardless of what market dynamics you face in 2024. Contact us today to learn how we can help you transform your business.
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