[:en]With COVID on the rise because of the Delta variant, and the announcement of Biden’s vaccine mandate, everything’s all up in the air again.
It’s hard enough to keep up with what’s going on in the convenience store industry. And now you have even more chaos than usual.
And who knows how long any of this will last? It could be years yet before things settle down.
So here’s some of the leading c-store trends and innovations we’ve found that will shape the near future of the industry:
1. Customer Foodservice Trips Remain Steady
They’re still not at their pre-pandemic levels. But customers have increased their foodservice trips to convenience stores steadily since January of this year.
This data comes from the 2021 Convenience Store News Foodservice Study.
Customers look primarily at food quality, price, and value when making their purchasing decisions.
Many customers demand fresh food options. And those who can’t or won’t go in-store continue to desire mobile ordering and delivery.
2. Beverage Sales Will Continue to Grow Through 2025
It’s hard to project sales to any point in the future – even in a normal economy. With so many complicating factors going on, the current projection rests at about 2.2% annual growth in beverage sales until 2025.
The Beverage Market Outlook 2021: Retail Beverage Trends & Consumption Preferences, a report by Packaged Facts’, projects that as the most likely scenario.
Near-term factors like the Delta variant, the possibility of future variants, and a stall in vaccination rates all are playing a role in beverage sales growth.
Despite all that uncertainty, it appears as though beverage sales will continue to grow.
3. Cloud-Based Software Makes Truck Maintenance More Efficient
Love’s Truck Care and Speedco have experienced noticeable bottom-line improvements via cloud-based software that connects their trucks to their shops.
The tool allows the company to reduce maintenance costs, improve uptime, streamline operations, and make improved decisions based on data.
Love’s Travel Stops has more than 561 locations in 41 states, so the savings have really piled up.
What if you applied the same concept to your c-store trucks and supply chain?
4. Yes, You Can Increase Frozen Beverage Sales
You already learned about the steady increase in c-store beverage sales. While it may not be a massive area of growth, you can still capitalize.
But how do you do that in this messy pandemic area?
First, you must have the flavors customers demand in your area. Price and market them right, including at your social media accounts, on your windows, and at your gas pumps.
Contests and prizes for flavor ideas submitted by customers spreads awareness. Use ballots to get customer votes. And capitalize on seasonal/sports trends.
Clean your beverage dispensers regularly, and make sure your customers know your exact cleaning procedures and frequency.
Then, watch your frozen beverage sales take off.
So that’s a quick summary of what’s going on and what to watch out for in the c-store market.
Which of these makes most sense to consider for your c-store chain?[:]