Convenience Store Efficiencies Serve Mobile Consumers

According to the C-Store Industry Report by Koupon, today’s retail industry continues to face disruptive technologies that threaten conventional wisdom and tactics. The continued growth of e-commerce, the rise of subscription and home delivery services, and the increasing use of mobile commerce is forcing retail marketers to re-think how they market, engage, and sell products to an increasingly connected consumer base.

But, says the report, there is one retail category that is thriving: convenience.

A combination of complex demands based on changes in consumer life-styles, economic factors, technology and generational preferences have reshaped shopping behavior. The way in which the modern-day consumer now shops has allowed convenience stores to emerge as a primary retail channel. This is clearly seen in the growth witnessed by c-stores over the past few years, says the report.

The continuing material sourced and presented by Koupon, says that In 2015, despite the 27% drop in fuel sales, in-store sales rose by 5.8%. Also, in 2015, the $600 billion convenience store industry grew faster than any other retail vertical. The success of the c-store industry is the result of its ability to adapt to the fast-paced, complex set of demands by providing ecient and expedient shopping experiences.

Since 2010, in-store sales have increased by a total of 18.6%, from $190 billion to $225 billion, says the report. As consumers are increasingly demanding convenience, the c-store industry has emerged as a primary retail channel, accounting for 34.2% of all retail. With over 154,000 convenience store locations, the c-store industry is easily able to meet consumers wherever they are located. Among retail channels, only e-commerce is growing faster than c-stores. The U.S. Channel Count Comparison shows that Convenience Stores number 54,195; Superettes/Supremarkets/supercenters 51,055; Drugstores 41,969; and Dollar Stores 27,378 .

The CPG opportunity within c-stores has arisen because convenience stores are answering the needs of consumers more than any other retail vertical. The opportunity is continuing to rise because of an ongoing cause and eect cycle created by the changing socio-economic factors. Increased Connectivity/Technology and On-the-Go Lifestyle leads to increased snacking/cravings by 94%  of consumers who snack at least once a day.

The report shows that 50% of consumers snack 2-3 times per day, and 39% purchase quick-serve items 1-2 times per week, leading to increased C-Store  trips and increasing C-Store sales 18.6% since 2010.

The CPG opportunity within c-stores opportunity is continues to rise because of an ongoing cause and eect cycle created by the changing socio-economic factors such as annual income, determining how often consumers visit c-stores and what items drive them in-store.

Annual income less than $35k/year:

  • Most likely to shop at c-stores everyday, usually for food and cigarettes. Soda, snacks, cigarettes, tobacco, groceries, produce, food and phone cards are purchased more often than average


  • Shop at c-stores around 2-3 times a week, usually for gas, lottery tickets, and cigarettes Lottery tickets, hot beverages, bottled water and alcohol are purchased more than average

More than $75k/year:

  • Shop at c-stores around once a week Fountain beverages, salty snacks, hot beverages, bottled water, food services, nutrition bars, produce, phone cards, and alcohol are purchased more than average
  • Shopping behavior for c-stores is heavily based on time and proximity. The Regulars visit c-stores with loyalty and always look for the same specific items
  • The Neighbor C-stores: a community center for them. They go for the experience and familiarity
  • The Last Minute Shopper: driven by the need to pick up a few things on the way. They are in-and-out, with unwavering needs
  • The Thrill-Seeker:  are a marketers' dream, going in-store for any reason, willing to try new items

Consumers are becoming more distracted and more mobile-centric every day, making it increasingly dicult to capture their attentio. With the average attention span lasting only 8 seconds, says the report, C-stores are looking for strategies to instantly engage consumers and drive them in-store. As a retail format preferred for its ability to save time, these methods must be ecient and allow for expedient shopping trips.

  • 42% of the time, consumers aged 18-34 go in- store after fueling their vehicle
  • 36%of consumers who pay for fuel in-store make a purchase
  • 43% of consumers report that they take advantage of discounts oered through loyalty and gas cards

More efficiency is needed, says the report, recognizing the limited time to capture consumers’ attention while taking, on average: 

  • 35 seconds walking from car to store
  • 71 seconds selecting items
  • 42 seconds waiting in line
  • 21 seconds paying
  • 44 seconds leaving store

Once consumers are in-store, there is limited time to capture their attention. Between 2010 to 2011, c-store traffic increased by 18%, but the average shopping time decreased by 16%. In 2014, 64% of consumers spent under 4 minutes in c-stores. With such a limited time to capture the attention of c-store shoppers, it is crucial that they are given a seamless and expedient in-store experience, says the report.

The majority of consumers activate a mobile offer within 0-2 minutes of receiving it. This means that c-stores must know the best days and times to deliver mobile offers in order to maximize reach and drive sales, says the report. In the c-store industry, mobile offer engagement and redemption increases throughout the work week, peaking on Friday. Redemption peaks during the evening commute and begins growing on the morning commute.

The report concludes by noting that consumers are becoming more mobile-centric everyday, demanding convenience in all aspects of life. As a retail format already focused on providing expedient shopping experiences, convenience has emerged as the only retail vertical able to satisfy consumers.

For more information from KouponMedia about on-the-go consumers, please visit here.


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