No doubt, 2020 is going down in history as one of the most volatile years in business, the economy and society. As we close the first quarter of 2021, we can look back and see who some of the unexpected survivors and winners were.

Convenience Stores, or CStores, have been around for more than 100 years – serving communities with fuel, snacks, tobacco, quick-serve meals, sundries and more. Located in small towns, suburbs and big cities, these stores offer a surprisingly diverse inventory to patrons–24/7 in many cases.

Pandemic Impacts On CStores

One of the words we heard over and over in 2020 was “essential.” I would argue convenience stores proved how essential they were many times over. Toilet paper? Cleaning supplies? Hand sanitizer? Masks? Candy? (yes, candy was certainly mission-critical to surviving those early lockdown days).  They were one of the few categories of stores allowed to remain open during stay-at-home orders. They served the needs of other essential workers and became a corner-store access point for consumers.

So what does this have to do with BI?

Stock What Sells – and Adapt Every Order

BI solutions allow CStores, and CStore Distributors, to stock and promote the exact product mix to maximize revenue. If you attended the CDA C-Metrics 2020 wrap-up webinar you heard about how important it is to not just track category sales–but individual product performance. But it’s not enough to spit out a report about how sales of Vaping products did last month or quarter.

What if you could see sales of products, layered with promotional offers and the impact that has on profitability? What if the warehouse manager got a text every time in a shift, day, week, or month that an item was out-of-stock–and you missed the chance to fulfill an order? What if you could see the product mix a store ordered was not just down from last quarter, but it now cost you more to send that truck than you make in profit?

Business Intelligence Isn’t for the Big Guys

When you first look for BI solutions, it can be intimidating. You’ll likely encounter lots of buzzwords, pretty dashboards and promises that everything is “easy to configure.” I’d challenge you to be a savvy consumer and look beyond these marketing claims. Make sure the vendor handles the implementation for you so you don’t have to dedicate IT resources to the project.  Get demos of real-world data, ask for references, and find someone (like Nowsight) who has deep experience with CStore distributors. Even if you don’t have a BI system right now, check out this quick list of questions to ask when evaluating BI solutions. It will help ensure you pick the best solution and the best partner for this powerful tool.

If you’d like to talk about how BI could improve your business, we’ll do a free data analysis–just ask!