Convenience stores (C-stores) are the fastest growing sector of retail. With that growth, however, comes an increasingly higher level of competition – from both traditional and non-traditional players. In an effort to create a competitive advantage, industry leaders are now focusing on the shopper experience, and leveraging in-store analytics to empower decisions from product assortment and merchandising to friction-free paths to purchase.
In the September 8th webinar, “C-Store Analytics: Improving the Customer Experience,” industry veterans Todd Hale, a Nielsen Consultant, and Lesley Saitta, CEO of Impact21, joined RetailNext CMO, Marc Dietz, in discussing the trends, strategies and “how to’s” around C-store analytics.
Hale led off the session by sharing trends in products that drive the continued expansion of C-stores, as well as the largely male demographic that is that makes up the current customer base.
The real challenge, Hale stated, is figuring out how to leverage that information while adapting to new market challenges. Specifically:
- A greater number of higher efficiency vehicles on the road means fewer trips/visits
- Men (and women) adopting healthier lifestyles are driving tobacco sales lower
In addition to these “customer-centric” challenges, Saitta introduced a third hurdle – the competitive landscape – where traditional players are changing assortment strategies and channels, while new competitors challenge the “last mile.”
To combat these challenges, C-store retailers are relying on more data-driven initiatives to learn more about their customers and their shopping behaviors. Saitta shared multiple examples of both regional and national chains leveraging new technology and rich customer data to drive format changes (Turkey Hill in Ohio) or new locations (7-11 in airport terminals) in an effort to attract a broader customer base and appeal to changing needs shoppers.
Continued innovation and strategic shifts will rely more and more on technology-driven initiatives as indicated in Saitta’s “Moving Forward…” section, and who better to rely on for technology needs than the industry leader in in-store analytics?
RetailNext’s comprehensive platform enables C-stores to test, learn and optimize the shopper experience throughout the full path of the customer journey beginning at the pump and the continuing throughout the store. Dietz covered the importance of this data and key metrics used to better understand shopper behavior – shopper demographics, new vs. returning shoppers, and duration of shopping journey. Using metrics to drive marketing activity, retailers have seen sales increase from 5 to 7%.
Be certain to catch the recorded webinar as part of RetailNext’s Webinar on Demand series.