By: Andrea Taylor | Senior Buyer

“As vehicles go electric, stores will increasingly turn away from fuel pumps and toward innovative meals and snacks,” says Frank Beard, a Des Moines, Iowa-based retail analyst, speaker, and writer who currently works in marketing and customer experience at Standard AI.

Despite the huge increase in online shopping combined with the decreased foot traffic in retail stores due to COVID-19, convenience stores have remained in business. Many convenience stores even opened new locations while the pandemic took its toll on retail stores as they fell to the e-commerce world. Beard notes that convenience stores have likely remained successful with the help of fuel sales. However, it is important to consider what convenience stores will have to offer as electric cars become more common. Consumers will more than likely not rely on convenience stores to charge their vehicles when they are able to charge at work or home.

Another hurdle faced by convenience stores are delivery services available through apps such as Door Dash or Favor that offer quick food runs for customers. Convenience stores profit from impulse buying—candy at the register, forgotten items such as phone chargers, or an extra bottle of water. When consumers utilize delivery services, they no longer buy those extra products and only get what they need.

How can convenience stores capitalize on their current business models? By expanding foodservice offerings to include dine-in services and serving breakfast at night or dinner in the morning, c-stores can target customers that work outside of normal business hours. As Beard references, retailers such as McDonald’s stop serving breakfast at 10:30am, opening a window of opportunity to convenience stores to satisfy customers who want to eat breakfast foods later in the day. Some c-stores have completely revamped their coffee programs making them more appealing than a local coffee shop.

As c-stores continue to flex to the needs of their customers, we will likely see more options become available in their stores. Beard notes how c-store trips can often replace a trip to the grocery store, with kitchen staples and fresh offerings. As convenience stores expand and target the immediate needs and wants of consumers, it is likely that we see gas station stops become more and more common in our day-to-day lives.

Source: Grocery Dive