Operating a convenience store may not seem like it requires a lot of technology, but if you take inventory on the various retail sales platforms and transaction tools utilized by a typical C-store, you’ll find that it adds up quickly. You must be aware of your POS system, forecourt controller, dispenser manufacturer, CRIND manufacturer, managed network service provider, loyalty app provider, web developer, mobile payment platform, petroleum service companies and any other custom software solutions that you may use.
So, how can you ensure they all run smoothly and cohesively?
Understand vendor limitations.
Every vendor wants their customers to be successful when using their products and services, but it’s easy for them to pass the buck of their responsibilities on to someone else as soon as you introduce multiple vendors. This isn’t out of malice or dissatisfaction, but a general lack of visibility and understanding of other vendors’ platforms.
The first step in a debugging cycle is to investigate until you find a possible cause. Many people don’t look beyond the first possible explanation—at least until they rule it out—so as soon as a vendor hits a roadblock out of their control, they tend to stop. This means that you may find yourself in an endless cycle of fits and starts, trying to get one vendor to work with another vendor to fix an issue. And as expected, it can be difficult to convince vendors to pay attention to other vendors, creating more work for you that will most certainly lead to delays in finding a resolution.
Know where potential issues might arise.
Bugs happen. And bugs always happen in technology. Period. But there are certain circumstances that are more likely to cause issues, especially with the integration between different platforms. Be prepared when you add new technology like loyalty and shopper marketing programs. Activating new stores or turning on existing integrations at new locations can also cause issues, and as with anything technical, with the right partner you can avoid most issues and fix others as they arise.
Rely on experts.
Multiple retail technology platforms require a knowledgeable partner or in-house resource that understands how to bridge the gaps between the various technologies and translate those different ecosystems into a common language. Does that sound like gibberish? Then, you probably need to hire someone or find an outside consulting firm to help.
Shep Digital can become the in-house resource that you are looking for to bridge those gaps and project manage your various digital shopper marketing technology sources, while offering a deep understanding of how all of your retail technology fits together.