Texas-based convenience store and petrol station chain Kwik Chek is using the internet of things to bring about new connected, personalised experiences for its customers.
Kwik Chek is using new technologies to connect customers’ mobile phones to petrol pumps, store point of sale (POS) terminals, and loyalty programmes. The company is also integrating its existing store infrastructure and software, which tracks inventory and fuel.
The new connected system is helping to transform the operations of the company thanks to the improved reliability and efficiency of its staff and processes.
The insight the new technologies are helping to provide covers customer habits. This means Kwik Chek is able to improve its sales and inventory and improve the experience of its customers.
To create this connected system, Kwik Chek partnered with P97 Networks, who used Microsoft Azure IoT services and other Microsoft technologies to create two new solutions.
PetroZone Mobile Commerce is a mobile app that enables navigation, cashless payment and smart digital offers, while PetroZone Retail Fuels Module is a cloud-based solution that uses the Microsoft Dynamics AX modern POS system to integrate with the system that controls fuel pumps, financial systems and the back office.
With PetroZone Mobile Commerce, customers can connect via the cloud and geo-locate their nearest Kwik Chek location. They can also reserve a pump and find out about the availability of services such as the car wash and ATM.
Using secure, multifactor authentication, the app enables secure payments from customers’ debit or credit cards. This payment can be completed with the scan of a mobile phone, rather than by swiping a card.
“When you have credit card information stolen, all sorts of damage can occur, from identity theft to charges online,” said Daniel Gaddy, chief technology officer, Kwik Chek. “With the PetroZone app, no cardholder data is ever stored or transmitted to or from the phone; even if you lose your phone, there are ways to wipe that phone remotely. It’s a far more secure method of payment.”
The app also offers opt-in features that track customers’ mobile purchase history. The data generated from this is used to identify relevant digital discount offers, which are then sent to customers while they are still on-site.
“Today, as an industry average, approximately 70% of our fuel customers never come inside the store,” said Kevin Smartt, CEO of Kwik Chek. “These offers are bringing more of them in, resulting in increased in-store sales from formerly fuel-only customers. It’s a big advantage for customers, too, who save money on things they’re likely to buy anyway.”
PetroZone’s cloud-based platform is powered by Microsoft Azure, and lets customers accumulate points toward future discounts. Not only does this help customers save money, but Kwik Chek can also better control its inventory, reduce costs, and improve its marketing efforts thanks to the module.
“The mobile experience and loyalty program create a one-to-one relationship between us and our customers,” said Smartt. “Having customers’ data really helps us offer them the best possible service, customised to their preferences and needs. It’s really transforming the whole experience.”
The PetroZone Retail Fuels Module integrates store inventory, POS, pin-pad systems and fuel pumps. This helps enable better management of factors such as purchasing, inventory and pricing to payments and accounting.
“People who have been in this industry for a long time are flat-out amazed at how fast the P97 solution is,” said Lew Bezanson, P97’s chief technology officer. “Compared with using a card swipe at the pump, it’s 30 to 40% faster to fuel your car; no more fumbling for a wallet and typing in ZIP codes. And the in-store experience is so much faster; the technology is quicker and the workflows are better.”
The solution is set to be rolled out at 5,000 locations in 2015, both for Kwik Chek and other customers in the US.
“We think P97 has created a solution that our industry has not seen yet,” added Gaddy. “With Microsoft’s backing, I think this technology can really take the convenience industry by storm.”
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