As I sit in my office and look at the calendar, I realize how quickly the months pass and time shows no signs of slowing down. One thing that strikes me is that the 2023 NACS Show is only two months away. How did it happen? October also brings the annual meeting Convenience store news Technology Leadership Roundtable and Dinner, taking place October 3 in Atlanta.
I had the pleasure of attending our inaugural technology event, then called the C-store Technology Leadership Dinner, in 2016 – which also took place in Atlanta – before I even took over the tech industry. Although I was familiar with the hot topics of the time, I found it fascinating to see where industry executives thought retail technology was going to head.
For example, as mobile payments expanded in many stores, one operator in Mississippi explained that its rural areas conducted 80% of transactions in cash. I would be curious to see where that number stands today.
But the topic that stands out most from that evening nearly seven years ago is the scale of the threat – if it constitutes a threat – that Amazon’s emerging Just Walk Out technology would pose to the proximity channel. All agreed that customer service would always reign supreme when it comes to convenience and that is still true, but as you know, c-store retailers have increasingly found a way to offer the customer service and payment options desired by customers.
What will be this year’s tech event bring? Where has the tech space been since 2016? If you would like to attend this intimate gathering of convenience store technology leaders, email me at (email protected).