How to Choose Quality Vendors

When reviewing vendors to meet your retail needs, it’s not always about saving a buck, but ensuring quality service. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Every few years, convenience retailers often find themselves sitting at the negotiating table, talking with grocery wholesalers or direct store delivery (DSD) vendors in an effort to work out an acceptable


How to Ensure Successful Cash Management

More convenience stores are combining proven practices with the latest technology to keep a handle on their money. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Back in the 1970s, armed robbery was rampant in convenience stores. 7-Eleven Inc., one of the first retailers to stay open 24 hours per day, hired consultants to investigate ways to thwart

How to Transition to Prepaid Cards

As it relates to prepaid platforms and the American consumer, the user profile has gone mass market. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Sharon Neal is the dream customer for any retailer selling prepaid cards. As manager of an educational foundation, Neal spent $10,000 on AMEX prepaid cards in 2014. Neal purchased numerous $25 cards and

How to Pick a Loyalty Program

Whether the scope of a prospective loyalty package is small, medium or extra-large, ensure it includes everything to meet your needs. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Retail loyalty programs come in a variety of sizes, but there is only one goal: to keep customers returning to the store and buying more products. Whether you prefer

How To Unlock EMV Rules

Convenience retailers are working ahead of EMV deadline to meet compliance standards. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor A monumental change to the retailing industry will occur in October when merchants who are not EMV compliant will become responsible for any fraudulent purchases made with non-EMV credit or debit cards at their outlets. It’s a change

Retailers Reveal Plenti

New consumer loyalty program might be a jewel of a platform for convenience stores. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor U.S. shoppers are fond of rewards and have approximately 3.3 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs, according to the 2015 Colloquy Loyalty Census. Research indicates that nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans would prefer a rewards program

Retailers Make the Most of EMV Compliance Deadline

EMV upgrades can be a time to reconsider partners or enhance system functionality. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor C-store retailers are staring down the October 2015 deadline when those who are not EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) compliant will become responsible for any fraudulent purchases made with non-EMV credit or debit cards at their stores.

Building a Robust Sandwich Program

When it comes to foodservice, some retailers have found that well-equipped suppliers can give their sandwich offerings a lift. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Running a successful oil and gas retail business for nearly a century is a world away from operating convenience stores with foodservice operations. Just ask Bailey Lyden, vice president of retail

Frozen Beverage Revolution

Known for thrills, chills and even spills, frozen beverages have grown from meager c-store beginnings to celebrity status. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Before frozen dispensed beverages made a mark in venues such as amusement parks, movie theaters and shopping food courts, the unique product was born and raised in the convenience store industry. No

Reaching Data Security

Retailers should know how PCI and EMV will impact their stores in coming months. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor As 2014 winds down, retailers face new regulations regarding credit and debit cards, potential fraud and security requirements, plus a late 2015 deadline for mandatory new technology. Retailers on Jan. 1, 2015 will be subject to

Tea for Two…and More

The demand for tea grows as more consumers seek out healthy beverages. C-store chains like QuikTrip are responding by offering up to 10 flavors of fresh-brewed teas. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Texas technology professional Sheryl Thompson spent about a decade drinking four 12-ounce cans of brand-name soda every day. When Thompson wanted to lose

Top Shelf Retailing

Shelf tags are becoming an increasingly important component of reducing out-of-stocks and providing a better customer service experience. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Before heading to his neighborhood gym, Terrance Stewart of Fort Worth, Texas, stopped at a local convenience store to pick up an energy drink. He selected his favorite from the cooler and

Tea for Two … and More

The demand for tea grows as more consumers seek out healthy beverages. Texas technology professional Sheryl Thompson spent about a decade drinking four 12-ounce cans of brand-name soda every day. When she wanted to lose weight, she adopted unsweetened iced tea as her beverage of choice, began eating better and exercising on a regular schedule.

Don’t be a Target for Hackers

Following a breach at Target and a host of other incidents, retailers are seeking security solutions despite being PCI compliant. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor The business world was stunned —and consumers outraged—when retail giant Target, with almost 2,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, admitted to a major security breach in late 2013. According

Monitor, Measure and Manage to Prevent Store Out-of-Stocks

The competitive retail business dictates that retailers must keep their shelves stocked to drive new sales and repeat business. By Pate Pape, Contributing Editor Problem: Controlling out-of-stock situations. Solution: Using smarter technology systems can keep items on the shelves. Back before the widespread use of POS technology, managers of Flash Foods convenience stores would regularly

Winning Over Foodservice Customers

Fresh ingredients, a great presentation and knowledgeable employees will help convenience store retailers grow their foodservice sales.  By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Competition is getting tougher in the foodservice arena. Convenience stores and QSRs now go after the same targeted demographic: households with incomes below $50,000, according to Bloomberg Industries, a business research organization. That

The Energy Category Maintains Vitality

Two-ounce shot and can sales have been on an upward growth trajectory since 2010 and with the economy improving the category is expected to continue on this positive growth path.     By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Despite speculation that the energy category would bottom out, the drinks, shots and mixes that perk up fatigued consumers

Safe and Secure in the Convenience Store

Prominently placed security cameras can help deter potential thieves and identify those who do steal. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor Thanks to the Internet, store operators concerned about shrink, shortage and safety now have the ability to videotape all in-store activities, plus monitor their outlets in real time from virtually anywhere in the world using

Security is an Everyday Business Practice

From PCI compliance to loyalty programs, ensuring customers that their private information is secure is essential in gaining their trust. But the rules keep changing so retailers need to stay focused to remain in compliance with current security standards. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In November, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC),

Keeping Your Customers Connected with WiFi

With the proliferation of Smartphones, iPads and laptops, now more than ever your “always on” customers expect wireless Internet access where they go.By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. In 1993 when Brett Stewart was speaking to top technology gurus at a conference in San Francisco, he predicted that the world would eventually enjoy the benefits of

Speeding Through the Breakfast Zone

Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and value pricing when it comes to a breakfast program. How competitive is your morning offering? By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Everyone knows that breakfast is important. Over the years, research has shown that adults who eat breakfast are generally healthier, weigh less and have a reduced

Mixed Smoke Signals for C-Stores

By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor.Tobacco customers and products are changing. Convenience store retailers must adapt to maintain category sales. It’s no secret that traditional cigarette use is declining. According to Gallup research, about 20% of Americans smoke at least one cigarette each week, which is down from the all-time high of 45% in 1955. Since

Managing Network Security

To maintain the trust of your customers and to protect your business against liability issues, convenience stores must maintain the integrity of their credit and debit card networks. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Think you can’t find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit for a credit card breach? Think again. Multiple class-action lawsuits have

The Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know Now

Beginning in 2014, health insurance will be available to individuals and small businesses through state-run “exchanges.”  These will require insurance companies to compete for business in the marketplace. By Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Now is the time for employers to prepare to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration’s healthcare law

The Pizza Proposition

Staying one step ahead in a competitive marketplace requires planning, knowing your customers and understanding what opportunities exist in the marketplace. Pat Pape, Contributing Editor. Everyone loves pizza. It’s convenient, tasty and usually a good value for the money. “It’s easy, agreeable to all and enjoyable,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst for NPD Group.