Hybrids Designed for Greater Convenience

Nov 10, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

As the Promo Magazine article begins, “Everyone is selling convenience these days.”

As such, convenience stores find themselves fighting competitors at every turn for the little available shopping time that today’s time-pressed consumers have available to themselves.

John Rand, senior analyst for retail consultancy Management Ventures, Inc., calls it the “Walgreens trend.” The drugstore chain continues an aggressive expansion plan focused
on putting stores on street corners with heavy commuter traffic.

According to Mr. Rand, Walgreens’ strategy takes “dead aim at c-stores.”

James Ferguson, senior VP-client services at CoActive Marketing, the agency of record for the Dairy Mart Convenience Stores chain told Promo, convenience stores have had to adapt
quickly to keep up. “C-stores have so much traffic, and it’s very predictable. The challenge is to bring people inside and increase indoor sales. The last few years, c-stores
have evolved tremendously from gas, beer, cigarettes and candy. They’ve had to expand their demographics.”

Convenience stores increasingly rely on day-part marketing as a means to draw shoppers in search of specific products during critical consumption time periods. Larger chains,
such as 7-Eleven, have also begun to experiment with private label as a means of differentiating from the competition while keep the price to consumers as low as possible.

7-Eleven has rolled out Santiago Cerveza de Oro (beer) brewed by SAB Miller’s BevCo.

Moderator’s Comment: What differences to you expect to see in convenience stores in the future compared to today?

There are just not as many Bubbas around today as there used to be. It’s nothing new, but convenience stores need to broaden their customer base.

As Aldi and Trader Joe’s have shown, the size of the store is not an indicator of whether a private label will be successful. The success is determined
by what’s in the package. Exclusive products, made well and sold at a low price, is a definite draw. We expect to see 7-Eleven and others expand this area of the business along
with food service and an increased emphasis on fresh foods.
Anderson – Moderator

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