February 3, 2010, 12:00 AM

At Wawa food stores, a personalized web site supports multichannel sales

The East Coast food and convenience store chain is displaying customized web pages to customers based on their geographic location and past purchase history.

Wawa Inc., a chain of 570 fresh food and convenience stores in several East Coast states from New Jersey to Virginia, is using Znode Inc.’s Znode Storefront to present customized web pages to customers based on their geographic location and past purchase history, says Dennis Egen, vice president of information technology at the Archer Group, a technology consulting firm that deployed Znode Storefront for Wawa.

“If someone comes to the Wawa site from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s newspaper site, we could run a promotion specifically for people in Philadelphia related to Wawa’s stores there,” Egen says.

Wawa’s e-commerce site has a limited number of offerings, including gift cards and Wawa-logoed apparel and travel mugs. But presenting customized pages catering to customers’ interests in popular products like its coffee packs and gift cards, for which Wawa has seen strong online demand, keeps customers coming back online to make purchases and gives the retailer a chance to promote via the site popular in-store products like Hoagie sandwiches, Egen says.

Wawa coordinates its customized web content with promotional announcements on its Facebook page, helping to build stronger customer relationships, he adds.

Wawa’s Znode Storefront was developed in two and a half months, Egen says. The overall cost to deploy Znode Storefront is about $6,000 per web server, with an average deployment for a mid-size retailer requiring about four servers and a total cost close to $25,000, plus about 20% in annual maintenance costs, according to Znode chief technology officer David Chu.



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