One of the challenges of opening a C-store is choosing a design. While the traditional C-store layout is tried and true, the industry has not been immune to innovation, especially over the last several years. Whether you are thinking of making changes to an existing storefront, or looking to build from the ground up; one of the hottest pieces of convenience store news is all of the new design concepts popping up to choose from.
The Traditional C-Store
Sometimes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Most shoppers, as well as owners, are comfortable with the traditional layout of c-stores. However, even with a no-frills concept, the most common form of store can still benefit from modern touches.
Some C-stores have begun combining elements from other concepts, such as with fresh food offerings to compete on more than just gas and lotto tickets. Some shops, such as Wawa and Buc-ee’s have formed their own fans with unique offerings, fun atmospheres, and mascots.
You can’t go wrong with the traditional approach, but you can endeavor to put a new spin on it through enhanced customer engagement technology, community involvement, unique inventory items, and more.
Automated c-stores are the future, and one that will be here before we know it. And while the big names in retail are pushing towards a workerless store, in some ways we may already be there. Kansas favorite Street Corner has several different store types, one of which is a kiosk-only offering in shopping malls.
Another version of automated offerings is Speedy Store, which is more or less a giant vending machine full of basic grocery offerings. And while checkout lines haven’t been eliminated yet, many other store brands are turning towards integrating their systems, as well as their customer rewards programs. Other brands looking to perfect the concept include Amazon’s unmanned Cstore, Amazon Go, Wheely’s 247 in Shanghai, and others.
The Fast Food C-Store
The growing push for more C-stores is to create a hybrid shop and fast food or café offering. It isn’t uncommon to find an actual fast food chain operating within a store, or at least offering their products. Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kremes, and Nathans have all partnered with C-stores and gas stations to offer their products to a wider audience.
While this approach can be profitable, more shops are selling their own food. This can be seen in eastern markets, as 7-11 in Korea has launched a companion store, the 7 Café, as a place where shoppers can either make purchases or enjoy a break. It would be easy to see this style taking off in the western markets as well.
One of the newest innovations is QuickTrip’s QT Kitchen, a new concept built in a space previously occupied by a Wendy’s restaurant. By turning it into their own fast food restaurant and reusing the drive through window, the company may be on to their next corporate layout.
Just as tiny homes are all the rage right now, so are mini store fronts. To reduce building and operating costs, many stores are looking to downsize not just their staff, but their square footage as well.
Combining kiosks and small stores is Avenue C by Five Star Foods, an unattended kiosk store that is small enough to fit inside a corporate cafeteria or even a break room. Other c-stores rely on tinier post-construction stores that are added on to gas pump-only stores.
Other companies around the world are now turning to smaller versions of traditional stores, such as newer offerings launched by Sainsbury. It just goes to show that size doesn’t matter when it comes to convenience.
Don’t Forget the Details!
One thing all successful C-stores have in common, regardless of their design, is a top-notch back office system. The industry is growing and evolving, and so too must your management system. From lottery to inventory control, CStorePro offers several features designed to make your day to day business run more smoothly.
Whether you go with a traditional design, or jump on the innovation bandwagon with a bold, new approach; when your back-office management is top of the line, you’re a step above the competition. Now that’s a concept worth buying into.
To discover how a back office system can benefit your C-store, today.