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Source: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola and Sheridan College team up to produce safety shields for c-stores

Source: Coca-Cola

Source: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is working with Sheridan College’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) to produce and distribute protective countertop shields for small businesses, including local convenience stores and restaurants hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative is designed to support and help business owners continue to operate while maintaining physical distancing measures.

The project came about when Coca-Cola spoke to their customers and realized that a number of smaller, local businesses did not have protective shields or or only had temporary solutions, thereby putting staff and customers at risk.

“Retailers and restaurants are working hard to ensure that Canadians can get the food, drinks and supplies they need during this challenging time,” Ron Soreanu, VP, public affairs & communications at Coca-Cola Ltd., said on the company’s website. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for many retailers and we wanted to help businesses that may be overwhelmed trying to keep their business running. Protective barriers between the cashier and the customer will give an extra layer of confidence to everyone during their shopping experience. And, we hope that this investment will enable Canadians to continue supporting their favourite local store or restaurant as our economy begins to re-open.”

Coca-Cola Ltd. is investing $75,000 to fund the purchase of materials and lead the project. Coke Canada Bottling is sourcing the locations and stores that need protective shields and will lead distribution and delivery.

Dave Bryans, president and CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, says his organization “has partnered with Coca-Cola and Sheridan College to supply safety shields to family run c-stores in Ontario. We will be installing these wonderful new shields in upwards of 100 Hasty Markets throughout the province ensuring the safety of our customers and employees. A big thanks to both Coca-Cola and Sheridan College.”

Sheridan College designed the prototype behind these shields and is using an alternative form of plastic, which is just a story as plexiglass, for which there are shortages across North America due to high demand in the wake of the pandemic.

Sheridan is manufacturing multiple designs to suit different countertop configurations for employees working at cash registers or takeout counters.

“Our dedicated team responds to industry needs in an agile way and puts Sheridan in a position to contribute to our communities efficiently and effectively,” Dr. Michelle Chrétien, director of CAMDT at Sheridan College, said in a statement. “We’re delighted to be supporting small business owners with a solution that helps facilitate safe interactions with customers.”


7-Eleven mobile pay

7-Eleven unveils mobile checkout app in the U.S.

7-Eleven mobile pay7-Eleven Inc. is helping busy city dwellers be on their way even faster by introducing Mobile Checkout to participating convenience stores in New York City.

The frictionless shopping experience lets customers skip the checkout and pay for their purchases using the 7-Eleven app. For a limited time, New Yorkers can receive up to $5 off their first Mobile Checkout transaction through an exclusive introductory offer.

Mobile Checkout is available for most 7-Eleven merchandise that has a bar code. Financial services and age-verified products such as alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets still require cashier assistance. The service works on both Android and iOS devices, and all payment transactions can be made securely through debit and credit cards, Apple Pay or Google Pay.

“More people are on the go and looking for faster, easier ways to shop than ever before. 7-Eleven continues to redefine convenience with frictionless experiences like Mobile Checkout. Our customers use their smartphone for all kinds of activities that save them precious time,” said Gurmeet Singh, executive vice president, chief digital, information and marketing officer at 7-Eleven. “Now with the Mobile Checkout feature, customers can control their entire 7-Eleven shopping experience. Not only that, but customers can earn and redeem points on a variety of products when using Mobile Checkout.”

The New York City launch of Mobile Checkout follows a test of Scan & Pay, a mobile self-checkout platform, at 14 Dallas-area c-stores in 2018, as previously reports by CSNC sister publication, Convenience Store News.

To use Mobile Checkout through the 7-Eleven mobile app, customers should:

  • Update to the latest version of the 7-Eleven mobile app to ensure it has Mobile Checkout capability;
  • Open the app in a participating store and tap “Get Started” on the home page;
  • Scan the barcodes of products to add them to the basket, with discounts and promotions applied automatically;
  • Pay for purchases using Apple Pay, Google Pay or a traditional debit or credit card; and
  • Scan a QR code, which appears in the app once payment is made, at the confirmation station to confirm the purchase. A tone lets cashiers know that a customer has used the Mobile Checkout feature to make a purchase.

According to 7-Eleven, it is the first c-store chain to develop proprietary technology for a full frictionless payment experience.

“Customers are given lots of options when they walk into a 7-Eleven store, from product assortment and customization all the way to payment methods,” Singh said. “Mobile Checkout is just one more way we can make someone’s day a little easier and give 7-Eleven customers a convenient checkout alternative to waiting in line during a store’s busiest times of day. It’s another reason to say, ‘Oh thank heaven for 7-Eleven.'”

Irving-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 68,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America.

Originally published at Convenience Store News.


3 in-store strategies to drive impulse purchases

shopping-basket-icon-TEASER_0The convenience channel has long been known for its cokes and smokes, but if you ask any convenience store retailer, supplier or distributor what really has the ability to drive profits by increasing basket size, they will tell you it’s the highly profitable and highly impulsive candy and snacks categories.

“Candy and snacks — both salty and sweet — are very important to a c-store’s profitability. These categories carry above-average margins and provide a strong impulse purchase opportunity for many of our guests,” Ken Hagler, senior director of merchandising for Tri Star Energy LLC’s Twice Daily Convenience Stores.

Alan Tobin, senior manager, c-store category strategy and insights for The Hershey Co., agrees that candy and snacks play a key role in building baskets at c-stores.

“With 47% of purchases being unplanned, and more than 80% of purchases consumed within an hour, a candy and snacks consumer is in the market for these products on pretty much every trip,” Tobin pointed out.

So, the question becomes: What are the most effective ways convenience store operators can lean into the candy and snacks categories to drive both impulsive and purposeful purchases?

Retailers and suppliers shared the following tricks of the trade:

1. ENTICEMENT

Twice Daily, operator of 50 c-stores across Tennessee and Kentucky, focuses on its fresh food and beverage offers to drive in-store traffic. Once in-store, Twice Daily emphasizes its candy and snack items to entice extra buys. It does this by strategically displaying these categories on the way to and from destination zones, such as the beverage cooler, fresh food area, and along the sales counter.

“We believe this provides us with the greatest opportunity to garner that additional add-on sale of a candy or snack item to go with a customer’s food or beverage purchase,” Hagler explained. “We also merchandise top-selling candy and snack items at the sales counter to capture that last-second impulse purchase to go along with the other items being purchased.”

2. LEVERAGING CHECKOUT

The front counter is where shoppers spend the most time dwelling, notes Hershey’s Tobin.

“About 17% of a shopper’s total time in-store is spent at the checkout. With an average of 23% of candy and snack sales coming from the checkout area, retailers have a huge opportunity to increase basket sizes through maximizing merchandising in this space,” he said.

Tobin recommends incorporating one of three merchandising systems at every pay point:

  1. Counter unit: With limited space, retailers should only merchandise the best-selling brands and items here. About 75%t of candy sales from a counter unit are incremental, he reports.
  2. Under the counter: Retailers who have executed this method saw an average of a 10 to 12% lift in category sales, with a 36%t increase in frontend conversion, according to Tobin.
  3. Queue line: Recent Hershey research showed a 56% increase in buyer conversion at the pay point after a queue line was installed.

3. CLEAR & SIMPLE SIGNAGE

Although it seems like an obvious solution, clear and simple signage is a must to communicate specials and promotional offers to capture incremental basket rings.

“One of the biggest gaps we see with the c-stores we work with is not having enough signage and callouts to grab customers’ attention, especially when it’s a bundle or a price-driven offer, so the customer sees it and gets the chance to make that decision,” said Joe Thrash, national trade relations manager for McKee Foods Corp., manufacturer of Little Debbie packaged sweet snacks.

Too often, signage doesn’t make sense in focusing on the bundle offer or is just not there, he explained.

Originally published at Convenience Store News.