What Customers Really Want From Your C-Store

[:en]“The customer’s always right.”

Well, of course you can’t listen to and incorporate every last thing you hear from your customers.

However, trends will emerge. So in 2019, if you’re ready to make changes to your c-store, what should you look at?

Learn from these things c-store customers say they want:

1. Foodservice

This was the primary purchase category, according to the Convenience Store Consumer Study by AlixPartners. 28% of all participants picked it. That number rose to 37% for Millenials.

However, all consumer groups don’t really want made-to-order food.

Instead, they really want the convenience. They’d rather grab’n’go or have their food delivered. And there’s an increasing desire for healthy options.

2. More Demand for Healthy Options

Speaking of the market trend for healthier foods to grab from your c-store, half of those surveyed in the study say they want “better” foods.

You don’t necessarily need to be a health fanatic at your c-store. However, customers do want foods made fresh in-store, local ingredients, and low-calorie options.

3. Loyalty Programs

Out of all the services c-stores can provide, the most desirable (by far) was a loyalty program. It scored a 3.6 on a 5-point scale, with made-to-order foods coming in a distant second at 3.1.

A loyalty program is really no longer an option.

Do you remember the old buy-10-get-one-free punch cards? Those worked well. Now they’re smartphone apps.

So, your loyalty program doesn’t need to be complicated. You simply need to have one that rewards shoppers for their repeat purchasing.

4. Delivery

This one has a bit of an asterisk, as Amazon will be your competition. Of course, younger generations like Millennials say they will increase their purchasing from Amazon in the next year.

However, Amazon can’t beat you on delivering fresh food orders. So you can compete with Amazon in that way and possibly others. The two most important factors here, again according to the same report, are speed of service and menu variety.

You’ll also have to focus on innovation to remain relevant in this regard.

5. Fee-Free ATMs

Be honest: how much would you really like it when you want to buy something right now from a c-store, only to find out you have to pay a fee just for the right to access your own money?

What a huge disincentive to purchase!

So, instead, try to partner with a local bank to make paying painless for your customers. And watch your sales grow.

That’s the true convenience your customers want from your c-store. Now it’s up to you to deliver them that experience.[:]