Archived Posts: January 2015
Tweet, Like, Share, and Comment Your Way to Success
Remember when all we had to think about as c-store retailers to market our brand was to have the right sign package in the stores each month, a little radio or TV advertising when we had something special or even a prominent sign at one of the many sporting events in our markets?
Fuel and C-Store retailers are moving away from traditional marketing and advertising approaches and trying to find more intimacy with customers. We want to "chat" and create "posts" where customers can learn and comment. We want to have "fan" clubs and create a "space" where we can communicate key messages and offerings to our customers in ways that are meaningful to them. We want to listen to see if people are tweeting on "Twitter" that reference our brand. What are they saying? What do they need? How do they feel?
Are We Prepared?
Flooding incidents are not limited to natural disasters and can occur at any time,with little to no notice, and I have to wonder- are we prepared to handle a disaster that may knock out our data center, or even just our ability to get to our offices for any length of time? Is there a plan in place to allow us to recover mission critical applications with minimal loss of data and service?
Wikipedia defines Disaster Recovery as the process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural
or human-induced disaster.
Cat and Mouse
Driven by erratic bounces in month-to-month and year-to-year fuel margins, which have formed a discouraging and obvious long term downward trend line, and facing a similarly unpredictable dilemma on the expense side of the equation with uncapped, runaway credit card fees, retailers are once again focusing on controlling shrink at store level to show a profit. Not that this is a novel approach. Retailers have long understood that better than 75% of losses come from the very people they trust to provide superior customer service. For fear of losing their job and the only source of health and other benefits that come with it during this two year recession period, some store employees have re-thought the “rationalization” for stealing and moved it down their priority list behind eating and having a roof overhead. The “motivation” and “opportunity” still exist for those inclined. But as long as retailers accept cash for cigarettes, beer and merchandise, employees will be creating ways to take a little extra cash home.
Not your Mom and Pop’s Technology
Handling customer transactions today requires a level of sophistication that is not uncommon for the twenty-something crowd that staffs most retail/restaurant operations, even the lesser educated. Most point of sale systems that comply with PCATS standards and are PCI compliant are loaded with functionality that didn’t exist with the cigar box. Regardless of the system, any good loss prevention person worth their weight in audit skills will tell you that it is about finding the “who” behind the losses – putting a name to the dollars lost. Industry hardware and software solution providers developed this generation of store tools to help retailers find the “who.”