Convenience store operators have long sought to create a frictionless customer experience. Fine-tuning the shopping experience to make it faster, easier, and more enjoyable makes for satisfied customers and keeps them coming back. To that end, today’s c-store operators are adding more and more food options, bigger refrigerators, more pumps and other options for customers.
Technology has played a key role in creating positive encounters with customers. For this reason, more and more c-store operators are making big investments to create a great retail environment that drives business and delivers a top-notch experience. This can be quite expensive. A c-store operator could spend tens of thousands of dollars adding new functionality and upgrading existing systems, chasing the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction and repeat business. Surprisingly though, many operators miss a vital, yet inexpensive step when installing new equipment – surge protection.
We all know that lightning strikes can cause power surges. But what surprises many people is that they can also be caused from equipment within or near the store, or even by unseen events such as switching on the power supply grid. A power surge doesn’t always create a big dramatic outage. In fact, most surges go undetected, yet gradually damage your expensive equipment, one surge at a time, until your system finally fails.
Failure of any electrical equipment in a c-store can severely impact the frictionless experience for your customers. Let’s look at 10 places a power surge can wreak havoc on your business.
ONE: Point of Sale (POS) System
When the POS system is down inside your store, sales stop and customers get frustrated. Even if you can make the sale at the pump, you lose those highly profitable add-on candy, beverage and tobacco purchases.
A down refrigerator means lost inventory and lost sales, not to mention a big repair or replacement cost.
THREE: Coffee and Beverage Machines
Coffee is an important part of the day for a lot of people, and helps to keep drivers going. With all the coffee options on the road today, you need to make sure your customers can get their caffeine fix the way they want it from you. The same is true for your soda, slush and other beverage machines. When they’re not working, frustrated customers take their thirsty selves straight to your competitor.
FOUR: Fire Alarms
It’s not safe or legal to operate a business without a working fire alarm system. Imagine if a power surge took your fire protection alarms offline. The consequences could range from inconvenient and expensive to deadly.
FIVE: Fuel Pumps
The bread and butter of most convenience stores is the fuel pump. When a customer sees bagged pumps, they just keep driving. This means lost sales, both in fuel and add-ons inside the store. Also, with many operators investing in the mandated EMV compliance for chip-based credit card transactions, the pump investment is now greater, with even more equipment at stake should a pump fail.
SIX: Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Many forward-thinking c-store operators are adding electric vehicle charging stations as a way to serve those customers who have shifted away from gasoline-powered cars. These systems too can be subject to power surges which can damage or destroy them.
SEVEN: Lottery Machines
Most lottery tickets are sold in convenience stores. No doubt it can be a driving force that brings your customer into the store, where they are also likely to pick up other add-ons such as beverages, candy or tobacco. If your lottery ticket machine is down due to a power surge, the entire sale may be lost to your competitor just minutes away.
EIGHT: Video Surveillance
Shoplifting, violence, robbery, bad behavior - these are just a few of the reasons a c-store needs 24/7 video surveillance. It not only helps keep employees and customers safe, but it also protects your business from liability and losses due to theft. These systems are a costly necessity and should be protected from power surges to ensure they stay up and running when you need them.
NINE: Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)
A customer who comes into your store to use the ATM may very well be using that money to purchase fuel or other items within the store. A down ATM due to a power surge will no doubt mean lost sales.
TEN: Inventory Management and Back-Office Operations
Many c-store operators have invested in expensive inventory management systems to help track inventory levels, orders and deliveries. It’s an investment that helps create that sought-after friction-free customer experience. When an inventory management system goes down due to a power surge, products can go out of stock, orders can be missed and ultimately, the customer may leave unsatisfied and head to your nearest competitor. Other back-office operations such as HR, scheduling and billing are also essential to daily management of a c-store.
Damaging power surges are a part of life, whether we notice them or not. Convenience store operators can take proactive measures to protect expensive electronic systems from the damaging effects of surges – mitigating business risk and reducing losses from damaged equipment, lost sales, and ruined food inventory. To protect yourself, it is important to learn more about surge protection devices and how they protect against this silent business threat.