Scan Data Enables Single-Site Convenience Operators to Succeed: Here's How
For convenience retailer Arlys Hilbrands, offering multi-pack discounts through major tobacco loyalty programs is essential to her Iowa store’s success.
About Todd's Station:
- One location in Rock Rapids, IA
- Established in 2001
- Joined Skupos January 2019
Key Business Outcomes:
- Increased sales that more than covered their monthly Skupos costs
- Ability to enroll in programs that helped them compete with national chains
- No disruption to day-to-day operations with an easy to use platform and a remote set-up
For convenience retailer Arlys Hilbrands, offering multi-pack discounts through major tobacco loyalty programs is essential to her Iowa store’s success. Arlys and her husband have been running an independent location for 17 years, but as Iowa’s local tobacco excise taxes have continued to rise, so has the pressure for single-site operators to advance technologically. Like many convenience retailers, the challenge for Arlys lies in getting approved for incentive programs with industry giants like Altria and RJ Reynolds whose requirements often cater to the abilities of costly business intelligence software or in-house IT teams.
Skupos, the market’s leading scan data technology platform currently serves thousands of c-stores nationwide, over 60% of which are independently owned. Skupos enrolls retailers in powerful scan data incentive programs with fully automated reporting in order to help stores drive volume and increase overall revenue. Arlys was first introduced to Skupos by her Altria account manager who suggested the technology as a solution to help her qualify for maximum reimbursements. At the time, Arlys’ store was not scanning, meaning each discount was being rung up at the register which resulted in human error. “We were funding [the discounts] out of our own pockets,” she reports, “but now it’s nice to get reimbursed by using this software.”
Arlys learned she would need to acquire a scanner in order to qualify for the tobacco discounts she was seeking from Altria. Despite having never scanned before, Arlys noted an interest in troubleshooting during the process of setting up her scanner and was excited to tinker with a new installation. What she did not expect was Skupos’ ease-of-use and streamlined, remote setup process. Arlys was able to connect her computer to the POS system without assistance, despite having the help of Skupos’ customer support team behind her. “On the first day, I was able to get everything into Verifone,” Arlys explains. “We were enrolled in multi-pack on day one and accepted within three weeks. You just have to take the time to learn it.”
“This is probably the easiest thing I’ve used in this business,” she went on to say. Since signing up with Skupos in February of 2019, Arlys says her store has already received its first reimbursement check which more than covers the monthly cost of her Skupos software. “To be honest with you, at first I was a little blind."
"Signing up for a scan data program was something I felt like the industry forces me into in order to keep up with competitors. I felt like in order to keep up with them, you do what you need to do to be a good business owner. Skupos has been a life-saver — really. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to put in every SKU by hand. With Skupos, I learned that all I need to do is go in there and change the prices and ‘bloop’ it’s done!”
There’s no doubt about it, big data isn't just for Amazon and Google anymore. The insights available through scan data incentives are key to advancing competition in the convenience industry. This kind of technology is something national chains are already leveraging and it has become vital for small convenience store operations to do the same. Today, Arlys and her husband operate one of the only independent stores in the area to offer many of the same multi-pack discounts as national chains. The pair expects to save thousands with scan data incentives in 2019.