Philadelphians are passionate about a few things – Cheese steaks, the Philadelphia Eagles, and a gas station with a goose as their logo that has grown from small chain of convenience stores in the suburbs to an East Coast hoagie slinging empire with over 800 locations.
Wawa Inc. began as an iron foundry in New Jersey in 1803. Towards the end of the 19th century, Owner George Wood decided to pivot his business and opened a very successful dairy farm, processing plant, and dairy delivery service in Pennsylvania. Wawa experienced a decline in milk deliveries in the 1960s and pivoted again to open their first Wawa Food Market as a place to sell their dairy products.
Today, Wawa is your one stop shop for pretty much everything. If you need the cheapest fuel in the area, check out the local Wawa. If you only have half an hour for lunch, Wawa has you covered with a selection of customizable food options ranging from sandwiches, soups, and even burritos that are ready to go in 10 minutes or less.
Wawa is innovative and has done a fantastic job at utilizing different tools to achieve growth and improve their business. In 2002 Wawa introduced kiosks for ordering food at their stores. Wawa found that customers could order much more quickly by using a kiosk for their orders instead of conversing with someone behind the counter. By transitioning their ordering process to kiosks, they had the flexibility to change their offerings quickly without having to reprint menus or retrain staff. Additional benefits include the ability to efficiently cross market items and specials in a visual way that can automatically change depending on the time of day, or day of the week.
With the emergence of the smart phone, Wawa has developed digital strategies to remain as convenient as possible for their 600 million annual customers. Wawa’s digital integration strategy includes partnerships with companies such as Uber Eats, and Grubhub that offer delivery services customers can take advantage of with a few clicks on their smart phone. By utilizing partnerships instead of creating a service of their own Wawa did not have to worry about the significant investment to develop their own delivery service. This mindset is like a tech start up utilizing Amazon Web Services instead of constructing their own data center.
In order to seamlessly integrate with their digital partners, Wawa did have to make significant investment in their point of sale systems as well as create a custom API management platform that allowed the company to easily sync up with third-party applications. During the development of these upgrades, Wawa created an analytics-based platform that they could use to collect data from their customers in order to improve their services even further. The data collected is used to direct advertising and promotional offers as well as mapping the routines of their customers. In the future Wawa hopes to use big data to customize their user experience and automate processes based on individual customers.