C-Stores Look to Turn Data Into Results
By Tom Ryan
With the introduction of services, such as Information Resources’ (IRI) new AllScan Convenience Store Tracking service, c-stores appear to be catching up to other retail sectors when it comes to capturing sales data.
The service, which officially launched last week, leverages POS data from more than 11,000 sample convenience stores, including major nationals, such as 7-Eleven and Circle K, as well as independents, across 54 syndicated markets. It promises to offer visibility into all product categories with weekly granularity for deeper business insights, improved information quality and greater accuracy at the national, regional and local market levels.
C-stores, according to IRI, have been unable to effectively analyze and understand sales and brand performance across markets due to limited information.
“Since the convenience channel represents a significant portion of business to many CPG manufacturers, you need to be able to perform the typical brand and category management analytics like you do in grocery, drug and mass outlets,” said IRI president and CEO Scott Klein, in a statement.
John Lofstock, editor at Convenience Store Decisions, told RetailWire that Nielsen and NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) also offer a data scanning service for convenience stores, but he said the c-store industry certainly welcomes another tool for rich, real-time data collection.
“The need for this data is exceeding the availability,” said Mr. Lofstock. “This kind of data is available from only a few sources.”
Mr. Lofstock estimates that c-stores are about 10 to 12 years behind supermarkets in capitalizing on access to POS data, and have been a step behind competitively because of it. However, he estimates that c-stores will be able to ramp up to speed rather quickly.
“The supermarket learned by trial and error,” said Mr. Lofstock, “They were scanning for years and doing nothing with the scan data. But once they started using it, they found a wealth of information.”
“It’s different for c-stores,” adds Mr. Lofstock. “They can learn from the obstacles and the barriers that supermarkets faced and quickly use that data to create loyalty programs and better promotions, market the stores more efficiently and capitalize more quickly on trends. These are all things the industry is trying to do but they just need more tools.”
Discussion Questions: How do you think better tracking of POS data at c-stores will affect merchants in this channel? What will it mean for suppliers? Are c-stores now in a position to do something with the data captured and, if so, what will it mean to the competitiveness of convenience operators?
- IRI AllScan Service Provides Unprecedented Insights across the Convenience Store Channel – Information Resources, Inc.
- IRI AllScan Convenience Store Tracking – IRI AllScan Convenience Store Tracking – Information Resources, Inc.