Convenience stores have been an American staple for close to 100 years, serving an important function for the average consumer. But with technology changing so rapidly and major retailers like Amazon making moves that threaten the market, will c-stores continue to be relevant to the next generation?
It’s necessary to answer this question because Gen Z (the next generation with purchasing power) constitutes nearly 27% of the entire U.S. population and is on track to be the largest generation of consumers. However, its shopping habits are substantially different from other groups. If convenience stores can’t capture the interest of this generation now, they’ll struggle to stay relevant … and stay in business.
Here are six trends that conveniences stores need to be aware of – and capitalize on – to create loyal shoppers among Gen Z.
- They are technology natives. Gen Z is the first true digital generation, and its members are accustomed to being able to use mobile phones, apps, and the Internet to do anything they need to do. That means, of course, that a c-store must incorporate technology into its interactions with customers, whether it be apps, mobile ordering, paying via mobile, or some combination of them.
- They expect diversity in their food. We already know that this is a “foodie” generation – perhaps even more so than others. But Gen Z has wider access to a variety of cuisines from cultures around the world, which makes it incumbent upon convenience stores to offer many different types and flavors of foods.
- They expect a mobile presence. Beyond a fondness for technology in general, the members of Gen Z are especially attached to their mobile devices. They expect the businesses they frequent to cater to them in the form of a mobile-optimized site, an app, a mobile loyalty program, and/or SMS messaging.
- They use online reviews to guide choices. More than any other generation, Gen Z makes buying choices based on online reviews. Studies have shown than a one-star increase for a business on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. C-stores need to constantly monitor their online reviews, as well as encourage happy customers to write them.
- They have an expectation of immediacy. Members of this digital generation are accustomed to being able to access what they want when they want it. Convenience stores, therefore, need to implement ways for Gen Z customers to get items as quickly as possible, including offering NFC Loyalty and mobile payment.
- They regularly order online. There has never been a time when Gen Z couldn’t place orders for things online. Just a few years ago, two-day shipping was a revelation, and now people can have a reasonable expectation of getting a delivery in less than an hour. A c-store that wants to stay competitive in the marketplace needs to offer store delivery, curbside pickup, or both.
Digital guest engagement programs are the key to making Gen Z (and all generations) feel as valued as possible. They enable c-stores to gather data and use it to deliver promotions, discounts, and messaging that is relevant on an individual level. These programs can include and/or integrate with an app, mobile payment, delivery options, and any number of other digital touchpoints.
Because the promotions are personally meaningful, customers partake in them and visit the c-store location more frequently. And encouraging those habits when Gen Z is young helps create loyalty for life.
Engaging Gen Z customers requires a comprehensive plan. To learn more about attracting this generation to your stores, check out our on-demand webinar, “Does Gen Z Have a Need for Convenience Stores?”
Do you plan your marketing campaigns months in advance? Do you run the same basic campaigns on a regular basis? Do all of your guests receive identical offers? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on to learn how leveraging new technology and changing your approach to a one-to-one model will revitalize your customer engagement program.
Imagine that it’s a random Tuesday and your boss says, “We need to get more guests through the door.” You respond by carefully crafting a “We Miss You” campaign to send out to guests who typically visit often but haven’t been in for a while. You send all of them a visit challenge that promises a reward if they come in once in the next 30 days.
While these types of campaigns are generally effective, is 30 days the right time frame for everyone? In reality, a challenge that has the same message, the same period of time, and the same reward can’t work for everyone. If you send this challenge to guests who usually visit every day, why would you reward them for coming in once in 30 days?
With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based marketing tools, one-to-one offers and challenges are auto-targeted for each guest. Whereas, one guest may be asked to visit three times to earn a particular reward, a more active guest may be asked to visit five times to earn a different reward. One-to-one marketing enables you to target guests based on their individual visit behavior. You simply set the parameters – How much do you want to spend? Are guests required to visit within a certain time frame? What are the respective rewards for the challenge? The AI-based system processes these rules to deliver a personalized brand experience to each customer.
As with any type of campaign, Paytronix doesn’t lock you in to a basic set of off-the-shelf promotions. One-to-one campaigns can be leveraged in several ways depending on your brand and business objectives.
- One-to-One Cadence Rule/Uploader: This version of the one-to-one challenge is “On Visit X, use this reward.” And the intelligent algorithm we’ve created will determine the best challenge for each guest.
- One-to-One Continuous/Lapsed Designation: This option enables you to send targeted campaigns all year long, rather than doing so on specific days. You also aren’t limited to a set number of tiers that your guests fall into. For example, typically you have tiers such as; guests that visit less than three times, three to five times, or more than five times. With one-to-one continuous campaigns, you can have an endless number of tiers. Manually, this would take an exorbitant amount of time to craft and set up, but with this feature, guests are auto-targeted for you.
- One-to-One Points/Visit Challenge: This version enables you to vary the thresholds and timeline for a guest’s offer. Some guests may be asked to visit two times in a month for a reward, while others may get a week to visit once to complete the challenge.
Giving control of your promotions to a “machine” can be scary. This feature gives you peace of mind that you are still in control, just with less manual work. You can monitor how your one-to-one campaigns are performing and adjust the parameters in real time to achieve your desired results.
Stop wasting time and brain power on manual campaigns and maximize the return on your marketing investment with a little help from AI. Learn how – by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or request a demo today.
Delivery has become a hot trend throughout most consumer industries. Amazon Prime Now is delivering more food and other essentials to customers across the country, Starbucks is flirting with delivery, McDonald’s is partnering with Uber Eats, and even 7-Eleven has begun beer delivery in some states.
Given these developments, should convenience stores begin offering delivery? And if so, how should they do it?
It’s no secret that consumer demand is driving the push for delivery. In fact, 52% of millennials would buy from c-stores more frequently if delivery options were offered. And as the generations preceding millennials continue to age, they’ll rely more on delivery as well.
The increased competition comes from both inside the industry – with mega-chain 7-Eleven exploring its options – and outside the industry – with behemoth Amazon moving into the traditional c-store space. Convenience stores may be facing an “adapt or die” proposition, and there are a number of issues that should be addressed before delivery is offered.
First, c-stores need to decide whether to build their own delivery infrastructure or rely on third-party delivery companies like Uber Eats and GrubHub. […]
Convenience stores can’t take advantage of every trend that comes along, but when one promises to be a $2 billion opportunity by 2022 and could easily be stocked in c-stores, it’s time to pay attention.
CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, has been garnering considerable attention and consumer spend over the past few years. Increasingly popping up in things like oils, gummies, and vapes, CBD could also represent a significant opportunity for convenience stores.
Is It Legal for Convenience Stores to Sell CBD?
Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized products made from hemp as long as it contains less than .3% THC. The status of CBD, however, is a little murkier.
Some states have outright banned CBD, some allow it, and others consider it to be in legal limbo. But that’s not stopping major chains from jumping on the bandwagon, as both CVS and Walgreens have announced that they’ll be selling products containing CBD in stores across at least eight states.
The legality of selling CBD at a convenience store depends on the location’s state laws, but with CBD products rising in popularity, it’s likely that many of those laws will be changing over the next several years. It would benefit convenience stores to be ready.
Who Would Buy CBD from a Convenience Store?
Not surprisingly, CBD is largely being purchased by the trendsetting millennial generation, which extols its relaxation, sleep, and overall wellness benefits. […]