In this blog, you’ll learn how convenience stores and oil companies can use BI data to unlock new efficiencies and respond to changes in times of inflation.
Convenience stores (c-stores) and oil companies are feeling the impacts of inflation. As prices rise and shoppers become more cautious about spending, c-store operators must carefully monitor — and respond to — rising retail and fuel prices, higher swipe fees, and ongoing changes in consumer behavior.
Most operators are using promotions and competitive pricing to combat inflation, but c-store businesses should also find ways to increase efficiency across departments. To do this, they'll need day-to-day visibility into operational performance and the ability to adjust quickly alongside the market.
Business intelligence (BI) data gives operators a comprehensive view of operations across store locations so they can monitor trends and respond to changes in days, not weeks or months.
Plus, the right BI and analytics solution puts that data in the hands of individual store managers as well, so everyone can work from the same source of truth and uncover new opportunities to streamline operations.
This blog will outline three ways c-stores and oil companies can use BI data to boost operational efficiency as they navigate inflationary trends in the market.
Many c-store operators rely on monthly or quarterly performance reports to assess the success of each store location, the various operations within those locations, and how these insights impact their business overall.
And while these reports may have been sufficient in more stable economic times, they’re simply too static to support operations in an inflationary market. Today’s business leaders need access to reports and dashboards to analyze daily trends.
Paper-based reports are necessary for certain business processes, but operators should also invest in dashboards that allow users to drill down into various data points and use visualization tools to turn complex data into clear, engaging insights.
Even with the most advanced dashboards, c-store operators simply don’t have the capacity to monitor and manage every store location on a routine basis, much less the individual departments and service areas within them.
That’s why it’s critical that they provide these dashboards and reports to every key member of their team, from executives at HQ to on-site store managers. This includes enabling mobile BI via smartphone or tablet, so employees always have the latest insights at their fingertips, whether they’re at the pump, cash register, or car wash.
By making their BI data accessible, operators give everyone a clear set of goals and priorities. Plus, they can share the responsibility of monitoring and performance management with the frontline employees who manage their stores on a day-to-day basis.
Executive-level decisions can take weeks to implement and have a notable impact on every store, while other decisions happen at the store level, and their impact is felt nearly immediately. Regardless of the scale or scope of a decision, it should be backed by reliable, up-to-date data and a clear alignment with the business’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
Once employees are equipped with up-to-date analytics dashboards, they can begin using their findings to inform decisions across departments and operations. They can monitor KPIs related to individual store margins, retail sales, fuel sales, and labor efficiency. Then, make timely, informed decisions on how to improve or which areas to focus on for the benefit of their c-store location.
For example, a store manager might find that recent food and beverage sales have fallen below the company-standard KPI. With the right BI solution, they can see not only when sales declined but which products saw the most significant losses within each category, such as fountain beverages, prepared foods, or consumer-packaged goods (CPG) products.
They can use these detailed findings to develop a new promotion that pairs best-selling products with inventory that’s harder to move off the shelves. Once the campaign is up and running, they’ll use the dashboards within their BI solution to monitor performance on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and inform future sales and promotions.
Along with giving team members access to BI data and analytics tools, operators must give their employees the authority to adjust operations and enact change based on the insights they uncover.
This combination of autonomy and informed prioritization is especially valuable for operators that manage multiple operations via multiple backend systems at each location. For example, a gas station with a convenience store, restaurant, and car wash on site.
Stores can use their BI solution to combine performance data from all these separate businesses to identify high and low performers, then prioritize activities that close gaps and maximize time-sensitive opportunities.
Let's say a store manager notices that car wash sales are significantly lower than normal on a bright sunny day, but fuel sales are slightly higher than usual. Based on those combined insights, they can immediately update the digital ads at the pump to display the car wash promotion running that week while also instructing cashiers inside to mention that same promotion to shoppers during checkout.
Without a reliable BI solution and a data-driven company culture, this manager wouldn’t have seen these sales numbers until weeks or even months after the day the decrease occurred.
And even if that data was readily available, a lack of enablement and trust would’ve left the manager stuck in a tedious, time-consuming approval process to update the ads or deviate from the standard talk track at the cash register, leaving valuable profits on the table.
TARGIT empowers c-store and wholesale fuel operators with BI data that helps them inform decisions, boost productivity, and increase profitability.
Our solution seamlessly integrates with all the systems you use to run your business, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, HR tools, inventory management solutions, and more — to give you a complete, up-to-date picture of your operational data.