Should Convenience Stores Deliver? The Lowdown

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. […]

5 Trends in Customer Engagement That Restaurants Can’t Ignore

Restaurants across the industry are increasingly innovating and finding new ways to provide convenient and frictionless experiences.  Advances in guest engagement, from Wi-Fi marketing integrations to subscriptions, make it easier than ever for visitors to interact with your brand. They also enable you to determine which messages and promotions will resonate best in the future.

Guest engagement helps you get to know more of your customers and keep them active with your brand. Here are five of the top trends for delivering high impact to your top-line sales:

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7 Innovative Ways to Reward Guests in a Modern Loyalty Program

Looking for ways to update your guest engagement strategy? Today’s loyalty programs don’t just offer discounts – they leverage machine learning to target guests with the offers and promotions most relevant to them while motivating behaviors that increase revenue. In order to be successful, loyalty programs need to enroll as many guests as possible, encourage them to become active members, and drive incremental purchases, so if your impression of a loyalty program is just a digitized version of the old-fashioned punch card, think again!

Here are seven ways to reward guests that can be built into your loyalty program to boost guest activity and ROI for your brand:

1. Experience-Based Rewards

Some loyalty programs reward their guests by providing memorable experiences. This works particularly well for fine-dining brands, which may offer access to exclusive events and allow points to be redeemed for private tasting menus. Some programs also give members a superior dine-in experience through priority seating and the ability to make reservations in advance. Receiving preferential treatment and exclusive experiences makes these guests feel not only valued but special.

2.  Tiered Birthday Rewards

The birthday reward is a staple of most loyalty programs, but it doesn’t need to be the same for all of your guests. California Pizza Kitchen’s CPK Rewards program offers different birthday rewards for guests depending on their level of engagement. Whereas guests in the lowest tier are rewarded with a free birthday dessert, those in the other three tiers receive a free birthday entrée. Guests in the diamond and elite tiers also receive free entrées on their half birthday and earn double points throughout their birthday month, giving these guests even more reasons to celebrate! Using this rewards structure for birthdays makes it possible for all members to benefit, but the rich rewards are reserved for your best guests.

3.  One-to-One Marketing

Loyalty programs should no longer employ a one-size-fits-all approach. Sending out the same offers and promotions to all of your guests is not going to drive the impact you need. As the penetration of your program grows and you gather data on more of your guests, you can use these insights to fine-tune your marketing strategy. Restaurants should target each guest with individualized offers and promotions, providing content that is relevant to them while giving you the best possible revenue drivers.  […]

How C-Stores Can Capitalize on the CBD Trend

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. […]