The 2022 NACS Show delivered four days of learnings, insights, networking, and exploring what’s new and exciting for the convenience and fuel retailing industry.
3rd-highest attendance in history
This year’s event took place October 1-4 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and attracted the third-highest attendance in NACS Show history with 24,534 industry stakeholders from 73 countries, including 8,841 retail buyers.
From food to technology, car wash, electric vehicle equipment, and in-store merchandise, the Expo was the second largest in NACS Show history at 429,200 net square feet. It featured 1,262 exhibitors, 250 of them new to the NACS Show, offering retailers a sneak peek at the new products and services available for their stores. In addition, the Cool New Products Preview Room helped attendees explore 278 of the newest products, services, and line extensions.
Future of mobility
Speakers focused on leadership, advocacy, mobility, community, and reigniting the customer experience. “California plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035—and other states say they will follow. And similar conversations are taking place around the world. Our industry sells 80% of the motor fuel sold in the United States—and has equally dominant positions in other countries,” Henry Armour – NACS President and CEO - said. “EVs are positioned as the future, but there are big questions about how we get to that future,” Armour said. “How do we decarbonize transportation while preserving the current access to affordable and reliable transportation?”
Toyota on achieving carbon neutrality
Toyota is investing heavily in battery-electric vehicles but also believes in giving its worldwide customer flexibility and that “there is more than one option for achieving carbon neutrality.” Hybrids and hydrogen are part of that solution for the automaker. Hydrogen especially makes more sense for large trucks than battery power. Right now, Toyota sees consumers in multi-vehicle families buying EVs mainly as second vehicles, with a gasoline-powered vehicle as their primary car. And expect this dual-structure behavior to continue.
For consumer-level EV charging, Toyota sees the opportunity for convenience retailers to provide high-value goods and services to EV customers while they are on-site, which meshes with the future that forward-thinking convenience retailers envision.
Enhancing loyalty program for EV drivers
Parkland USA is a subsidiary of Parkland Corporation, one of North America’s fastest-growing independent marketers of fuel and petroleum products and a leading convenience store operator with 3,800 sites. Doug Haugh, president of Parkland USA, urged convenience retailers to get ready now for the eventual EV switch, driven by climate change regulations and fuel costs. So-called garage orphans represent a real opportunity to provide away-from-home charging services, coupled with a great food offer. Then there are the service-related drivers and road trippers who will need access to EV chargers and want to take advantage of on-site dining and outdoor eating spaces. To enhance its loyalty program for EV drivers, Parkland is integrating EV charging services into its Journey Rewards program app, too. The company is especially excited about the results of its international “future of design” contest for a prototype EV charging station of the future, which was won by a Scottish architectural design firm. Parkland plans to build the Electric Charging Destination of the Future station in British Columbia as a test-and-learn endeavor.
Reigniting customer experience
The final day of the 2022 NACS Show was all about reigniting the customer experience. NACS Vice President of Research and Education Lori Stillman debuted THRIVR, a new NACS tool to help convenience retailers build and manage a localized marketing strategy that maximizes their stores’ online presence and meets customers when and wherever they are searching.
“Today, online is how customers define convenience,” Stillman said. “They use their smartphones and digital devices to discover what’s out there. What they want. And who has it.” Convenience stores need a strong presence in the digital world—including via social media channels—and must respond to the conversations consumers are having about their brands. “THRIVR gives you more control of your brand—and it tells everyone who you are and what you have, when and wherever people are searching,” Stillman said. “It gives you more control of your brand. With accurate data, compelling content, and an ability to keep a pulse on customer feedback and reviews, you can thrive in the digital retail landscape.”
The 2023 NACS Show will take place October 3-6 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.