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Wawa is building a new digital platform to offer ‘boundless convenience’ outside of the retailer’s four walls

And you can get in on the ground floor. Get firsthand insight from digital experience pro Mike Pitone.

Wawa at work. (Courtesy photo)

This article is sponsored by Wawa and was reviewed before publication. Wawa is a Talent Pro client.

With nearly 1,000 stores in six states and DC, Wawa associates are busy innovating and reshaping the traditional nature of convenience and reimagining what is possible with services, products, store prototypes and designs.

Over the past two challenging years, Wawa technologists expanded digital abilities faster and further than ever before by standing up some of the most important digital platforms in Wawa’s history including loyalty, mobile
ordering, delivery, curbside and catering services to meet customers’ needs inside and beyond the store’s four walls.

The digital team is acutely focused on improving and simplifying the customer and associate experience while reducing complexity throughout its footprint. From greater speed and effectiveness of menu changes on digital screens to the implementation of self-check-out terminals in all stores, there is no doubt that the digital
transformation is a crucial enabler of future expansion and ongoing ability to serve communities in new ways.

As the convenience retailer continues to grow and provide more access points for its customers, the company is hiring more technologists like Mike Pitone.

A New Jersey native, Mike Pitone is no stranger to the comforts of Wawa’s coffee and made-to-order hoagies. But like many local technologists, the digital brand experience pro never envisioned an opportunity to work for the beloved convenience store in any technical capacity.

Mike Pitone. (Courtesy photo)

“Wawa felt so small growing up,” Pitone said. “I never thought of it as a digital innovator.”

That was until three years ago, when a seasoned Pitone found himself yearning to work for a company that shared his personal values — to “build great things with great people.”

Pitone thought of Wawa and its reputation for doing what’s right and always valuing people first. He took a new look at the company and was intrigued by the work of colleague Todd Miller, Wawa’s senior director of brand strategy and experience, who had been modernizing the brand and creating new innovative digital experiences.

“Todd said to me, ‘If you want to see how digital can impact our physical space — with food, appliances, store design, sensory experiences — you can do that here,’” Pitone said.

Speaking with Todd, he learned that Wawa headquarters, based in Wawa, Pennsylvania (near Media) was embarking on a complete digital transformation, creating an entirely new platform and modernizing its infrastructure. The new platform is meant to simplify and standardize the internal back-end development process, which will greatly reduce time to market for internal apps — from monthly to daily — and get them in front of customers more quickly.

Pitone jumped at the opportunity. Today he works with Miller as senior manager of brand experiences and growth, overseeing digital product design and the experiences of Wawa’s digital applications.

At a granular level, that entails managing the designers building product components, ensuring the usability and accessibility of the brand’s user interfaces, and conducting experience research for a framework based on
service design — partnering with store designers and associates to understand how to improve in-store wayfinding and curbside, off-premise and on-premise ordering.

As for his quest to work at a company with values, Pitone said one only has to look at the average tenure of Wawa employees to understand their gratitude for the company’s unique community and culture.

“So many people have been here for 15 to 25 years,” he said. “I asked them why and they all said, ‘the culture, the people, the opportunity.’ Everybody feels like an owner in this adventure.”

Wawa has a long history of valuing people. The family company was originally established as a dairy farm and processing plant in 1902, owned and operated by George Wood in Wawa, PA. Wood’s motivation was to provide his community with fresh, quality milk made through safe practices. By 1964, Wood’s grandson Grahame opened the first official Wawa store in Folsom, PA, as a way to sell the family’s certified dairy products. Today, Wawa’s digital transformation furthers its mission to provide customers with boundless convenience, and employees with unlimited opportunity for growth.

You don’t have to have grown up with one hand glued to a cup of Wawa coffee in order to find happiness in a career at headquarters like Pitone. Just bring your whole self, passion for working with new technologies and
ambition for shaping the next big thing in this iconic brand’s arsenal of innovation.

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Companies: Wawa

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