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.
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?
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. […]