C-stores are becoming sophisticated retail outlets
As an industry, retail has spent the last couple of years re-inventing the in-store experience. One that provides not only a personalized customer journey, but one that caters to their lifestyle – such as supermarket cafes, or book shop coffee outlets. While convenience stores lagged behind other forms of retail for a while, they are fast on track for delivering the ultra-convenience demanded by customers today and radically improving the overall shopping experience: a gas station should offer more than just fuel; it should offer a pit-stop for busy customers to relax, enjoy hot food at the counter and take advantage of tailored product promotions on offer.
This trend sees C-stores moving away from conventional gas and travel supplies. As with other forms of retail, C-stores are moving to provide spaces for customers to stay longer – they’re achieving this by offering fresh food, hot beverages and a relaxing environment. The idea is that gas stations are no longer quick pit-stops, but rather a place to take a longer break. The net effect is to maximize the profitability of these retail locations while providing customers with an enhanced offering. This is similar to the transformation that airports undertook: at one point, airport terminals were simply areas in which to wait for one’s flight. Now, they host a range of restaurants, fast food outlets, coffee shops and consumer goods stores.