02/06/22; Convenience Retail Mobile App Strategies by Roverton

Tomorrow’s technology requires robust mobile apps today, but convenience retail’s reliance on white-label apps remains a barrier, explains Rovertown

Convenience stores were once the gold standard of ‘convenience’, but it takes more than proximity through real estate to win in today’s competitive environment. Consumers now have more options than ever to get what they want, when they want it, and on their own terms. In order to thrive in a world where instant gratification solutions make it possible to avoid stores altogether—and where headwinds in fuel demand threaten to reduce foot traffic—convenience stores must redefine what ‘convenience’ means in an always-connected world.

Announced today, Rovertown—the app platform trusted by leading convenience retailers like United Dairy Farmers and Spinx—has released a report that reveals how tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies will require robust mobile apps. The Dawning of the Digital Convenience Store also uncovers strategic gaps in mobile app strategies that have limited the ability of many brands to innovate.

“This report is an attempt to do something different,” says Mike Philip, Co-Founder and CEO of Rovertown. “We take our role as an independent advisor seriously.”

“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. Our goal is to generate important conversations within leadership teams to help them chart a path forward,” added Michael Rzeznik, Co-Founder and CTO of Rovertown.

Key highlights include:

  • The pandemic revealed a strategic 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.

  • Mobile apps must be relevant beyond narrow use cases. Consumers’ smartphones are coveted real estate, and retailers have to compete with powerful, compelling apps from brands such as Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks. 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.

  • App platforms will be the ‘Shopify solution’ for convenience retail. Just as merchants can easily harness the Shopify platform to compete with Amazon, convenience retailers of all sizes need the ability to quickly deploy mobile apps that meet the standards set by big brands like Chick-fil-A and 7-Eleven. 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.

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

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