One of the more interesting startups spotted in this year’s Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 was CStorePro. The company, which likens its product to a “Google Analytics” for convenience stores, was a runner-up for the Audience’s Choice award – that is, the startup picked from the crowded tables filling the Alley, voted up as a favorite by the public. CStorePro offers a web and mobile service that provides business intelligence for convenience store customers at more affordable price points than many of the larger competitors in the space.
The founding team behind CStorePro has a history in working with convenience stores, having come from a family that spent 20 years in the business. Previously, those building CStorePro launched a successful check cashing business for convenience stores that has helped to cash $3.2 billion worth of checks to date.
With CStorePro, the online software system will integrate with convenience stores point-of-sale (POS) systems in order to access data that is, today, “trapped in the cash registers,” the company explains to TechCrunch. This transaction data is then uploaded to CStore’s cloud, where businesses can then log in to run reports, view charts and graphs, and make adjustments to pricing in real-time.
The software lets store owners keep an eye on their store’s overall margins, inventory levels, sales reports and more, including breakdowns between things like lottery, gas, purchases, money orders and other categories. Using this data, the system also suggests changes based on current trends, and can send out alerts allowing business owners to make immediate decisions that can impact their store’s bottom line – even when they’re away from their store, thanks CStorePro’s mobile support.
For instance, if it’s raining that day, the software would recognize that the store’s merchandise sales will go down. So it might suggest that the store lower its gas prices in order to temporarily increase the number of vehicles that visit the gas station. With a click of a “Do” button within the web or mobile application, a store owner can act on a suggestion like this, or any other pricing changes.
Currently, the system operates with top POS makers including Gilbarco Veeder-Root, VeriFone, and Dresser-Wayne. Although the POS business overall is very fragmented, the company tells us that in the convenience store industry, 75% of convenience stores are using one of four POS solutions, making integrations easier.
Based in Houston, the company currently has 1,000+ users on its platform, the majority of which are free users with the remaining customers on a paid tier. CStorePro also offers a variety of low-cost pricing options, ranging from $39-$59 per month, depending on the number of stores. An on-premise solution is also available, at $89/month.