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Loyalty360 Reads: Shoppers Spending More Time in Convenience Stores, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop Deploys



PDI and GasBuddy Report Says Shoppers Spending More Time in Convenience Stores 

The convenience store data provider PDI Technologies has released the latest edition of its trends report, Tracking Convenience Report: From the Pump to the C-Store. Compiled with PDI affiliate GasBuddy, the report assesses sales developments and consumer behavior affecting convenience and fuel retailers. 

The report found in-store sales rose by 2.2% in 2023. Sales per shopping basket were up 3.9%, and the average price per item increased by 4.1%. The study attributes most of this growth to persistent inflation.  

The number of customer visits declined by 1.7%, but the percentage of shoppers spending 5-10 minutes in the store increased over last year. The highest sales growth was in the alternative snacks category, such as jerky and protein bars, followed by liquor and wine.  

"Evolving trends in the convenience retail landscape are reshaping customer behaviors, but today fuel stops remain the primary driver of convenience store visits," said Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy. "In light of today's unpredictable fuel market, retailers should adapt their approach to entice fuel customers to explore the store, especially during peak visit hours, in order to drive sales growth and increase customer engagement."  

Brooklyn Dumpling Shop Deploys AI to Speed Drive-Thru Service  

When the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop opens its Texas location in 2024, the drive-thru lane will feature AI technology designed to shave 20 seconds off the customer experience. In addition to AI voice assistants, the drive-thru uses geofencing technology to sense when customers enter and allow them to place orders hands-free.  

“Everything is smartphone controlled, but the drive-thru customer never has to lift their phone and exercise the transaction,” said owner Stratis Morfogen. “As long as the phone is in geofencing it will pick up order and payment data and be able to process the transaction.” When loyalty members approach, the system can recognize their smartphone and send custom reminders about available rewards and offers.  

“Our whole model is about less labor, a smaller footprint, and leveraging tech to make our business more efficient,” Morfogen added.  

Developed by tech firm Blue Dot, the drive-thru technology is currently used by Dunkin’ and KFC at select locations.  

Alaska Airlines Loyalty Members Earn Rewards for Supporting Sustainable Aviation Fuel  

Alaska Airlines has partnered with the climate tech firm CHOOSE to give customers the option to offset carbon emissions generated by their travel.  When booking trips, customers can view estimated emissions and purchase sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) credits to help fund the advancement of SAF, which produces up to 80% less carbon than traditional jet fuel.  

Through December 31, Alaska Mileage Plan members will earn 500 tier-qualifying points for every $100 of credits purchased, up to 5,000 points.  

"We know that reaching our sustainability goals — including net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 — will require investment and action on all fronts,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Sustainability at Alaska Airlines. “We're excited to link this work to our loyalty plan, helping guests get closer to that next elite tier, in partnership with a creative innovator like CHOOOSE – and we look forward to building on this platform."  

The carrier became the first U.S. airline to fly multiple routes using SAF back in 2011.  

Read More on Trends, Updates, and Industry Leaders   

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