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Ten Big Ideas from Day 3 of the NACS Show 2015

LAS VEGAS — The NACS Show hit its groove Tuesday as retailers and suppliers shared ideas and scoped out the best of new products. Here’s what jumped out to CSP editors today:

How Much!?

North to south and east to west, numerous retailers are considering M&A options with several deals expected to come down before the end of the year. The kicker? Some of them will be done on double-digit multiples!


Are you using every tool in your arsenal as effectively as possible? J&J Snack Foods took a popular item in the South for the company—Mary B’s Biscuits—and made them a hard-working national product by using them to make biscuit sandwiches.

You Say You Want an Evolution

As the convenience customer changes, so does the definition of convenience. If a customer really wants a veggie smoothie and doesn’t have time to make it, it may be worth it for him or her to pay $7 to get it exactly how they want it, quickly, with no hassle, says Joe Bona of CBX. People are willing to pay a little more for fresh, quick, customized items.

Higher EMV Use Than Expected

People may be using chip-based Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) cards faster than expected, according to Kara Kazazean, director of payment services, Walmart Stores Inc. As part of a larger EMV migration committee, she has seen retailer numbers showing that 60% to 70% of credit-card transactions are “chip on chip” or with chip cards being swiped at chip-enabled terminals, while 20% of debit purchases are chip-on-chip.

Missing Link?

Nearly 29 years ago, Jack Link (see photo above) sold his first jerky in the convenience-store industry to Sam Haddad with Capital Sales Co., a distributor out of Hazel Park, Mich. The rest is, as they say, history.

Deez’ll Do

What impact will Volkswagen’s emissions scandal have on the diesel market? According to experts at the NACS Show, it is not exactly cut and dry. Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at OPIS/GasBuddy, expects that is will devastate consumer confidence in diesel vehicles for the next few years. Meanwhile, John Eichberger, executive director of the Fuels Institute, points to recent surveys that indicate consumers are still interested in diesel-powered vehicles, and instead see the scandal as an indictment of Volkswagen, not the engine.

Good to Great; Bad to Gone

Don’t waste time making bad stores good, advises Terry Monroe, president of American Business Brokers. Instead, make good stores great and get the bad stores off the books.

If the Shoe Fits …

Online shoe-seller Zappos is well-known for its company culture. And it’s guys like Jonathan Wolske that make that happen. After starting in the company’s call center several years ago, he came to a conclusion pretty quick: “I really don’t care a whole heck of a lot about shoes, but I got to help people on the phone, which I really do like!” he exclaimed. Such passion led Wolske to a much larger role for the company: culture evangelist, a gig that has him sharing bon mots of wisdom such as: “When you come to the Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas, you’re going to see what looks like an hour and a half of people on break, but those people are more productive than the industry average.”

Show Floor Fever

Surprising flavor trends: cucumber and chili lime. Four overused adjectives to describe new products: organic, bold, “xtreme” and electrolyte-powered.

That Light-Bulb Moment

Harvey Hicks, CFO of Jordan Oil of the Carolinas, and his team discovered an unexpected benefit of switching to LED lighting: Customers immediately noticed how much the store’s appearance improved outside and in the store. A 55% reduction in energy use didn’t hurt, either.

CSP Staff


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