- ExtraMile Convenience Stores has launched several AI-driven programs at three locations as part of a new partnership with Samsung, according to a Monday announcement.
- The programs include an AI-powered “digital human” that interacts with customers, Samsung’s digital signage displays, AI-powered social media campaigns, weather tracking and more.
- ExtraMile’s latest push with AI underscores the c-store industry’s evolving relationship with technology, which experts foresee becoming even more sophisticated this year.
Although not all c-store retailers are focused on technology, streamlining efforts in this area could help operators become more efficient across their entire businesses, experts have said. One recently said he foresees c-store retailers tapping into “unified commerce,” or a more intentional effort to integrate their various tech software to ease customers’ experiences, this year.
ExtraMile appears to be tapping into this trend with its latest partnership with Samsung. The new approach combines digital signage and a variety of data to reach customers at the right time with the right message, Sara Grofcsik, executive director of U.S. commercial sales for Samsung Electronics America, said in the announcement.
“Stores today need to deliver interactive experiences to engage with the digital-savvy shopper,” Grofcsik said. “However, it’s difficult to meet current expectations for dynamic content with traditional signs and banners.”
The ExtraMile stores offering these programs are located in San Diego and Millbrae, California, along with Vancouver, Washington.
Only the store in San Diego features the AI-powered digital human known as “Sam the Sommelier.” Developed in Samsung’s AI research lab, Sam can interact with customers via voice or live chat through an app and offer food and beverage recommendations. Customers can also take product quizzes and get immediate assistance to buy their items through Sam.
Meanwhile, the digital design displays appear in these stores’ high-traffic areas, such as soda fountains, snack aisles, refrigerated sections and behind the counter. Customers can also interact with the brand via online polls, which helps ExtraMile then create merchandising decisions. The displays also offer real-time weather forecasting via IBM Weather.
Finally, Samsung has brought foot traffic analytics software to these stores through analytics firm FastSensor. This program offers metrics about a customer’s physical shopping journey as they move through the store, analyzing data such as traffic flow, customer purchase intent, sales conversions and store sections with the highest traffic.
Pleasanton, California-based ExtraMile Convenience Stores, a joint venture between Chevron U.S.A. and Jacksons Food Stores, operates over 1,000 locations, mainly in the Western U.S.