New convenience stores are pushing grungy standalones

With digital competition and new competition, convenience stores can no longer afford to become obsolete or run out.

The number of convenience stores is on the rise in the United States, eg National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) this week in its 2023 NACS/Nielsen Industrial Store Count Report. The 150,000-plus locations in operation in the country represent a 1.5% increase from last year, which is an especially notable finding, given that it comes on the heels of four years. of dips.

Many of these new stores are upscale locations that offer more than just gas station-side snacks and drinks. for example, Getty Realty announce Last week it invested $44 million in nine stores through 2022. Meanwhile, 7 eleven It updates its stores with, and builds on, the convenience of omnichannel On-demand delivery infrastructure With the 7NOW delivery app and a 7NOW Gold Pass subscription for free delivery.

In addition, convenience stores are now competing with local digital players such as Online only convenient hubs From restaurants to e-commerce brands Branch out into bricks and mortar like Foxtrot Market, providing an elegant and upscale in-store experience. Thus, consumers expect more from their convenience stores – selection, convenience, and digital connectivity.

Research from the recent PYMNTS study.”Instant Payments Conversion Guide: Grocery, Pharmacy, and RetailersCreated in collaboration with ACI worldwide, which was based on a survey of 300 retailers in the US and UK, found that 77% of merchants, including convenience retailers, view digital rewards and coupons as key to in-store customer loyalty. Additionally, 81% said the same about mobile app access.

The study notes that “modern stores and pharmacies may find themselves in intense competition with each other and online services.” “With the influx of independent, mobile-only online pharmacies and convenience services, this has led to increased competition, as smarter stores and pharmacies drive engagement with features that reward consumers for shopping and remove friction from transactions.

In fact, digital upgrades can go a long way. Last month , Casey’s General StoresInc., the third largest retailer in the US with nearly 2,500 stores, touted the strength of the rewards app on a call with analysts.

“As of October 31, we reached 5.8 million rewards members, adding over 400,000 members in the quarter, as our team continues to drive value for guest rewards,” CEO Darren Ribelles He said. “This resulted in our bonus share rate reaching 37.8% which is an increase of 600 basis points over the second quarter of last year.”

Previously, Casey shared with PYMNTS how the industry has some catching up to do when it comes to loyalty programs related to competing segments.

“The C-store loyalty space is still generally new to the industry, and the ones that will tell you ‘Well, we had it a while ago,’” Art Sebastiansaid Casey’s vice president of omnichannel marketing at a interview. “Like, hey, there are coupons and maybe a couple emerging ways to save. So, I think it’s still kind of new. But what I’d like to challenge the industry to do is think about how… make sure you’re doing something different to make your show stand out.”

PYMNTS Data: Why Consumers Are Trying to Use Digital Wallets

The PYMNTS study, “New Payments Options: Why Consumers Are Trying Digital Wallets” found that 52% of US consumers tried a new payment method in 2022, with many choosing to try digital wallets for the first time.

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