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Convenience stores have notoriously been data deserts for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers. The best information c-stores have historically been able to offer CPG distributors and manufacturers is weekly sales data by region not at the store level. As a result, c-stores haven’t been at the forefront of CPG brand strategies. But, new near-real-time transaction data capture and analysis capabilities are changing all that. New tools enable more sophisticated merchandising, promotion, pricing, strategies, and more effective marketing across all channels. 20-20 Foresight The significance of real-time reporting cannot be overstated. Previously, point-of-sale data has been aggregated to a simple, weekly sales, units, and average price metric and then batched 1 to 2 weeks after the transaction occurred. Not only did this slow responsiveness, but it also made it more difficult for manufacturers to do deeper basket-level or store-level analysis. This blind spot in understanding c-store basket behaviors has meant millions of dollars in opportunity costs. In addition, the improved velocity and granularity of this data can yield projectible insights faster, empowering manufacturers to optimize strategies. As an example, in the beverage category, many new flavors are being launched with aggressive promotions. Now CPG brands can use these tools to measure the promotion impact, estimate volume per outlet, and identify store performance. And, the opportunities don’t stop there. One of the biggest areas for optimization for CPG insights is due to the sheer footprint of c-stores. There are over 150,000 c-stores in the United States compared with just 40,000 groceries. This enables a degree of location-specific decisions that groceries simply cannot offer because space does not permit for many excess items. Product preferences by district and even neighborhood can be identified and analyzed. When this SKU-level data is overlayed with demographics, the insights can be both more detailed and more actionable. This will become increasingly important as the U.S. consumer profile diversifies. These new SKU-level capabilities are game-changers for any company with multiple flavors, sizes, and so forth. With granular details into purchasing behavior, c-stores and CPGs can drive even more revenue by better identifying related items. C-store purchases tend to be just a few items. For this reason, the correlation between product selection is clearer. This can inform decisions about bundling, cross-promotions, and other tactics to drive incremental revenue. A one-item increase in a convenience retail transaction can equate to 20 to 40% more revenue per basket. Shelving Your Impulses…