Convenience stores across the U.S. are on the cusp of a digital transformation of their entire customer experience — from relevant messaging on monument signage to mobile app integration and beacons. Throughout the forecourt and inside the store, digital signage and software solutions help with customers’ decision-making process and ultimately increase their basket size.

Convenience at the core

Since the start of the pandemic, convenience stores have become shoppers’ preferred channel for fulfilling their daily shopping needs. Because they’re typically less crowded than larger grocery outlets, convenience stores let customers enjoy a quicker shopping experience — and since 2020, these stores have seen impressive sales growth.

Now, much of the convenience store market is currently looking to introduce fresh, healthy food items. As they make this shift, digital signage can help raise customer awareness of these new menu items and manage perishable inventory. Items with a short shelf life might be featured as a daily special, and a store with surplus produce might run a local promotion.

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To meet customers’ need for convenience and contactless purchasing, convenience stores have adopted technology that allows customers to place orders from their phone, often by scanning a QR code outside the store. By the time their gas has been pumped, their order is ready to pick up in store, where digital signage can inform them where to pick up their order — and upsell additional items.

Relevant and personalized content

Similarly, digital signage also allows convenience stores to communicate dynamic pricing, which is especially useful for seasonal changes. As with produce, seasonal inventory like umbrellas and hot cocoa is easier to manage with digital signage, which allows retailers to update displays on the fly, such as when an item is running low on stock.

To help humanize these digital solutions, many convenience stores are linking their signage network to a loyalty program or app, sharing personalized messages and relevant coupons with customers as they arrive. Tailored to specific customers, on-screen messaging can guide them through the store and help them make purchasing decisions.

Major retail brands are also helping convenience stores with their digital signage outfits. Retailers can use a convenience store’s signage network as an opportunity to test new products and messaging or access new markets. These contracts between brands and franchisees are a win-win.

Digital signage is the vehicle for change

Digital signage now informs consumers’ purchasing decisions both on the forecourt and in store. Outside, window displays rotate messages of current promotions, while indoor displays direct people toward fresh food items. Self-service kiosks, like the all-in-one Samsung Kiosk, also allow customers to scan items and learn more about them, such as nutritional information or cost.

There’s a brand image benefit to digital signage as well. Retailers that use innovative technology are seen as cutting-edge, and they gain customer favorability, while those that don’t are thought to be less organized and lagging behind the curve.

Operational wins

Digital solutions deliver savings in both labor and business purchases, streamlining formerly manual processes in both the front and back of the house. For instance, convenience stores can digitize their inventory and integrate it seamlessly with mobile apps. And with digital solutions for line busting, team members can work more efficiently.

In-store displays that are traditionally static, like cigarette and lottery ticket displays, can also be digitized, auto-updating the cost of cigarettes and the Powerball jackpot amount as they change. Reorganizing such a display with a digital solution can cut down the process from two to three hours a day to about 45 minutes.

You may imagine digital signage comes at a large upfront cost, but in terms of return on investment (ROI), the average screen pays for itself in just 45 days.

Digital ordering systems are always ready to ask if a customer wants something else. They’re not afraid of upselling and will continue to make product recommendations, increasing the average basket size.

Solutions for the future

Convenience retailers are often cautious about the look and feel of new solutions and believe they need to be tech-savvy in order to implement a signage network. In reality, today’s solutions are easy to set up, and on-screen content is easy to customize. The latest technology allows franchisees to manage their messaging campaigns remotely, see what’s playing on screen and change the content as needed. Samsung digital signage and software solutions can be scaled from a single c-store location to a national franchise with hundreds of locations across the country.

For those who prefer a more hands-off approach, Samsung has a team of content creators and customer service experts to help franchisees get more comfortable with digital — especially for early adopters, who are reporting a 35 to 40 percent increase in the average ticket item.

As the world reopens and consumers maintain their preference of visiting convenience stores rather than grocery stores and malls, it’s the perfect time for convenience stores who haven’t gone digital to make the switch.

You can tailor and configure real-time messaging easily using an integrated CMS with the help of this free comprehensive guide. If you’re not sure what kind of signage best suits your needs, explore Samsung’s broad lineup of display solutions designed for convenience stores.

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Sara Grofcsik

Sara Grofcsik is the Director of Sales for QSR & C-Store in Samsung’s digital signage division, and has been with the company for more than six years. She has extensive knowledge of the digital technology landscape with more than 13 years of industry experience in working with partners to deliver state-of-the-art solutions for businesses.

View more posts by Sara Grofcsik