C-Stores Embrace Electronic Payments

C-stores have been expanding EMV in the forecourts, as well as offering online ordering and stored payments.

C-store technology is rapidly expanding, and nowhere is that more evident than in the realm of electronic payments.

“There are several trends that we have seen accelerate over the last year,” said Perry Kramer, managing partner with retail consulting firm Retail Consulting Partners. “One of the largest accelerations we have seen is in the use of contactless EMV transactions. Additionally, many are implementing the use of quick chip for EMV.”

C-stores, over the past 18 months, have been continually expanding EMV in the forecourt and adding additional payment options, Kramer noted. He pointed to a significant increase in digital accounts for ordering online and stored payments for recurring and subscription payments.

“C-stores continue to invest in digital payment systems, order management systems and mobile applications,” Kramer said. “These are then blended with the use and promotion of private-label payments, which continue to show large cost savings and interchange fee eliminations.  These areas should continue to be a focus of payments in the store, at the forecourt and in any digital/mobile application.”

Mobile Payments

Enmarket, which operates 129 c-stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, offers customers multiple payment options. 

“At the fuel dispensers, they are able to authorize pumps and process payment through the Enmarket mobile app,” said Brett Giesick, president of Enmarket. “Payment options include card-on-file or our proprietary ACH program called enPay, which debits the money directly from the customer’s checking account.” 

Inside the store, Enmarket features Skip technology through the Enmarket app, allowing customers to scan items and pay in-app. 

“If a shopping trip requires a visit to the register, customers can still use mobile pay on the Enmarket app with a quick scan of a QR code, or by using Apple or Google Pay. And for customers that are more comfortable using PayPal or Venmo, we’re now accepting those forms of payment inside our stores, as well,” Giesick said. 

When it comes to Skip, Giesick said it’s especially appealing to regular customers who purchase the same products on repeat visits. “Customers can save their favorite items and select them before they even walk into the store,” he said. 

In the past five years, Giesick has had dozens of companies approach him about mobile payment technology, and he expects to see even more mobile payment options become available in the market as customers become more comfortable using their phones to pay. 

“Customers have different preferences and many different options to choose from,” Giesick noted. “As an industry, we have to adapt to those preferences and invest in the technology that will allow customers to transact with us on the platform of their choice.”