When it comes to New Year’s Eve, the wine aisle is the place to be in C-Stores.
As the clock ticked down on 2019, we found that people turned to their C-stores for alcohol to fuel the night. By examining a sampling of sales at 100 C-stores across the Midwest, we saw a significant spike in alcohol sales overall, but wine represented a nearly 400% in revenue over a comparable day. Beer and liquor did well, with a 200% increase, but that’s half of the revenue from wine.
Most other purchases stayed relatively in line with normal levels, so we’re not seeing any immediate change in spending that would indicate that people are sticking to their New Year’s resolutions.
But all that wine they’re buying on New Year’s you’d expect a run on coffee the next morning. Alas, it didn’t happen. It turns out that most people seem to be sleeping in and skipping their morning c-store run. You can see in the graph that traffic just disappears for the morning, and gets back to normal levels later in the day.
What if most stores – and even Amazon – are getting frictionless shopping wrong? What would it mean for brands that are trying to do things differently?
Kim Otocki, a member of the Paytronix marketing team, recently had the opportunity to sit down with Gus Olympidis, the president and CEO of Family Express. His c-store brand has firmly established itself as a leader in the frictionless experience, and Olympidis had a lot of wisdom to offer other c-store owners who are trying to follow suit.
It’s not news to any c-store owner that competition for customers and spend is higher than ever. In addition to the many direct competitors in the industry, convenience stores have to contend with fast-food restaurants, big-box retailers like Walmart and Target, and even online giants like Amazon.
The c-stores that continue to thrive despite these challengers will be the ones that best adapt their businesses to meet new consumer trends, wants, and needs.
In addition to offering reward programs, one of the biggest requests by customers is online ordering and delivery. In the past, c-stores might have thought implementing an online ordering system wouldn’t apply to their business – but times have changed and this is only the beginning.
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.