I am a huge fan of animated movies, and "Beauty & the Beast" is one of my favorites. In the film, there is a particularly catchy tune called "Be Our Guest." While dishes and utensils come to life and dance, a candlestick and teapot sing: :Be our guest. Be our guest. Our command is your request. … And we're obsessed with your meal, with your ease. Yes, indeed, we aim to please."
Working on this month's cover story with my fellow editors Melissa Kress and Danielle Romano, I couldn't help but think of this song (and sing it in my head) as one convenience store retailer after another talked to us about the significance of being guest obsessed.
For bp, this means investing in talent and capabilities to deliver a best-in-class digital experience that gives its guests multiple avenues to transact with its stores digitally.
"A digital transformation will give us the opportunity to provide access points to our brand that are unique and individualized. It allows us to be even more guest obsessed," Lisa Blalock, vice president of convenience, Americas for Houston-based bp, told us.
For Yesway, it entails leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences and demand patterns. The Fort Worth, Texas-based convenience store retailer is then able to tailor its product assortments, pricing strategies and marketing efforts to match guest needs, leveraging data-driven decision making.
For Casey's, guest service is top of mind. The Ankeny, Iowa-based convenience store chain recently launched its Easy for You initiative, designed to enhance operational efficiency and simplify the store experience for team members.By removing complexity from processes and reducing administrative tasks, team members are given back time that they can use instead to serve Casey's guests and complete higher-impact work.
These are just a few examples of how c-store companies are adapting, improving and innovating while staying laser-focused on meeting the ever-evolving needs of their guests. There are many more examples like this, which made it difficult to choose which companies to spotlight in this issue of Convenience Store News— our annual "Innovation Issue."
While they may not have dancing dishes or twirling utensils, c-store retailers across the country are finding new ways to deliver better guest experiences and, most impressive of all, they approach it as a never-ending process, constantly asking how they can further improve.
I'm eager to see what fresh innovations the future holds.