A new era is dawning on the C-store industry. Not only are consumers expecting more ethical day to day operations and purchasing decisions, but they’re looking for increased convenience and lower prices.
While some chains have managed to successfully incorporate grocery store methods and even create a rabid fan base, as is the case with Wawa, Wegman’s, and Sheetz, many c-stores are still trying to find their footing in today’s market.
Perhaps it’s time to stop looking at the present and start looking forward by adopting the latest trends in products, services, systems, and sustainability efforts.
Unfortunately, being a convenient way to buy Slim Jims isn’t always enough. Consumers are expecting not just name brand products, but fresh inventory choices. Following in Wawa’s footsteps, many C-stores are now offering fresh made sandwiches, as well as other non-packaged offerings. Along with competing sandwich choices, Atlanta-based RaceTrac has begun offering a frozen yogurt station, as well as cold beverages, coffee beverages, and other specialty choices.
Our customer’s needs and preferences are changing. To stay current, keep an eye and ear open to your customer’s suggestions or requests. Industry publications such as Convenience Store News are also great sources of information on current and upcoming convenience store product trends.
Sauces and meal starter condiments (pasta sauce, marinades, and more)
Fresh baked goods
Healthy options such as smoothies or frozen yogurt
Seasonal offerings such as holiday-themed products
By introducing more offerings that mimic traditional grocers, as well as offering a fast food alternative, C-stores that make themselves truly convenient for the consumer are excelling. Many of which, including Wawa, have begun adopting automated kiosks for selling lottery tickets, as well as for fresh sandwich orders. By reducing the time it takes to make a transaction, consumers will appreciate the faster convenience over other store choices.
New Inventory Data Management
With a new era of product choices, comes new challenges on managing them. More c-stores are making the shift to cloud-based systems, both for POS needs as well as inventory data management.
Between security risks and slow inventory needs response, more managers need a dynamic interface with more options than previously available. New inventory applications, such as CStore Essentials, allows for faster real-time analytics at any time, day or night. This allows managers to stock shelves with more popular choices, as well as makes for better informed decisions.
By focusing on more than just snack foods and gas, a c-store can become a full-fledged grocer. With just a few simple changes, a chain can experience better customer loyalty, reduced operation costs, and offer better inventory choices without needing a high investment.
Convenience store product trends are changing in 2017. Keeping an eye on these trends will bring you one step closer to realizing the success your store richly deserves!
Want to learn more about CStore Essentials for your C-store? today, or simply sign up for a free trial and see for yourself how easy it can be to improve your store management.