Defining success for any vision begins with asking, “What does success look like?” As with any good strategy, we begin the year with a clear set of objectives and key results to measure along the way. When change happens, whether through unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19 or consolidation in the industry, we must deal with new complexities and keep momentum at the same time. Here’s what can help you achieve your vision and manage expectations and changes in your environment.

The impact of change on your retail vision

Convenience retail has experienced a lot of consolidation over the last decade. In recent headlines, we’ve seen the long-anticipated acquisition of Speedway conclude with 7-Eleven being the successful acquirer. We are now consistently seeing this type of change in the convenience retail industry. Whether you’ve acquired a new business to help achieve your retail vision, or your company has been acquired, your first objective will likely be ensuring a successful integration. It’s critical to pay close attention to the impact on your customers and employees, particularly in the early phases of integration where there are many distractions. This will help minimize attrition, encourage collaboration and drive focus.

PDI has had several acquisitions over the last few years, and retaining talent, expertise and knowledge has always been a priority. Following the acquisition of IIS (FuelsPricing), we wanted to protect the industry knowledge, pricing technology expertise, and data science capability, as well as maintain business continuity for our customers. We truly understood the importance of building upon what was already there. We know too many point products make it complex and cumbersome to do business, and this industry lacks a holistic enterprise software provider. That’s why integrating fuel pricing to our overall solutions portfolio with ERP and loyalty is a critical part of our roadmap to help address this industry challenge.

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The importance of consistency and culture

You need to have endurance to get through difficult times like the one we face today. The way we work, shop, and interact with friends and family has dramatically changed. For many, like those of us at PDI, remote work has become part of our new routine. Providing a consistent and collaborative experience for our customers and employees has been a critical factor in how we adapt to the new normal. Making the most of our technology investments is an integral part of our journey, and like many, we’ve embraced video calls to meet with colleagues and customers to help keep up relationships. Equally important are our investments in cloud infrastructure, which is critical to enabling the next generation of our solutions.

Ensuring business continuity and having a customer-centric mindset has allowed us to maintain consistency throughout the global pandemic and help our customers. At various levels throughout the organization, we routinely gather customer feedback through discussions and surveys like NPS. We use the feedback to help make decisions and take action, so we can continuously improve.

Like PDI, convenience retailers understand the importance of their culture. Many started as small, family owned businesses, and even as they grew, their core values remained. Being true to your core values is so important because it helps you adapt to changes in order to achieve your vision in the face of new challenges and unpredictable circumstances.

Protecting your retail vision

Relationships are key to protecting your retail vision, whether it be with your customers, or within your technology stack. When I was young, I joined the Royal Air Force and what I call my school of life. Among other values, it’s where I learned the importance of building strong relationships.

As the world around us evolves, so do consumer expectations. Consumers have adapted and relied on technology to carry on with everyday life. Although they’re using new technologies, they’re still trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, but their behavior has undoubtedly changed. We have seen an increase in consumers relying upon their local convenience stores for items they would have traditionally picked up at their supermarket. I know this is something me and my family have done in recent months. They are also trying new ways of shopping like order ahead and home delivery. These changes have shaped how businesses are achieving their retail vision.

We see convenience retailers adapting new loyalty and payment strategies to offer their customers more ways to engage and get the essential items they need. And digital commerce is not something happening soon, it’s here today, and consumers expect businesses to offer more digital experiences and personalization. Having an integrated ERP, fuel pricing, loyalty and payments solution can bring visibility to your supply chain and help you keep up with changing consumer expectations. To protect your retail vision, look for ways to connect the data and systems that enable you to manage in-store and fuel inventory and target your customers with relevant offers and promotions. Finding the right partner is key. They’ll help you integrate new technology while leveraging your existing investments.

It is possible to balance expectations and reality for your retail vision. Ultimately, it comes down to doing what you say you’re going to do, maintaining strong relationships, both with your customers and employees, and leveraging new technology.

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Dawn Desai, SVP & GM of Marketing Cloud Solutions International

Dawn Desai joined PDI in 2020 as the SVP and GM of Marketing Cloud Solutions International. In addition to overseeing the expansion of PDI’s loyalty solution worldwide, she is also responsible for the Fuel Pricing solution. Dawn is a veteran in the technology and retail industries. She grew up working in her family’s grocery shop and spent nearly 13 years at NCR, primarily in the retail sector. Dawn was instrumental in driving the adoption of self-checkout in the U.K. and with grocery retailers across Europe. She’s always had a connection with retailers and has applied that deep knowledge throughout her career, helping companies large and small achieve their goals.

Before starting her professional career in technology sales, she joined the Royal Airforce at a young age. This shaped who she is today and taught her the importance of teamwork, self-discipline, and learning to challenge yourself.

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