8 Trends That Matter for C-Stores – NACSonlie

April 13, 2018

Thanks NACSonline for another great article.  backOffice Software can help to make these things possible for your c-Store

————————————————————————–

8 Trends That Matter for C-Stores

SOI speaker Todd Hale highlights what convenience retailers should be tracking and trying in 2018, and why.
April 13, 2018

​By Greg Lindenberg, CSP Magazine

CHICAGO – “You can’t just sit on the sidelines and watch for growth,” Todd Hale, Nielsen consultant and principal at Cincinnati-based Todd Hale Inc., said in presenting the Tracking Trends That Matter session at the 2018 NACS State of the Industry Summit in Chicago this week.

“It’s not just going to happen. You need to invest in growth,” he said.

With more than 39 years of experience in the consumer research industry including 30 years at Nielsen, Hale is a devoted student of consumer shopping behavior, buying and immediate consumption.

Retailers need to be ready to ride the waves of change or get on board for the opportunities they present, he said. Here are some of the top retail trends Hale sees affecting the convenience-store industry in 2018 and beyond:

1. Store Count
“We’re hitting the wall on store expansion,” said Hale.

The drug channel is seeing contraction, and mass merchandisers are seeing a decline in store count related to Kmart store closings. In the supermarket channel, most of the expansion has come from niches, either on the high end—Sprouts, Whole Foods—or low end—Lidl and Aldi.

But 10 of the top 20 chains that have added the most stores in the last 10 years are convenience stores: Couche-Tard, 7-Eleven, Speedway, GPM, Casey’s, Andeavor, Sunoco, Cumberland Farms, Pilot Flying J and QuikTrip. And nine of the top 20 chains that have the most stores are c-stores: 7-Eleven, Couche-Tard, Shell, Speedway, Chevron Texaco, BP, ExxonMobil, Sunoco and Casey’s.

2. Retail Format
But “retail format is no guarantee of success,” Hale said.

Drug stores are suffering from either flat or negative front-of-store sales; they’re driving growth through their prescription drugs.

One opportunity for c-stores is around aging populations, Hale said. “The nice thing about older people is that they shop a lot; they make a lot of trips. What else have we got to do? One channel that has been missing out on opportunities with trips for older people is the drug chains. How many of you have gone from 30 days to 90 days on your prescription refills, either at a store or through mail order? You’re not making trips to drug stores anymore,” he said.

Hale doesn’t see Dollar General’s DGX small urban format as a threat. “While it’s interesting that they’re playing in this space, they’re overall strategy is probably not to add a lot of these just yet. They’re experimenting with that format. I’d be more concerned about the fact that that they’re adding 900 stores” in its traditional format, he said.

Hale said convenience retailers should be more concerned with Target’s small format. It plans to have more than 100 of these hybrid convenience-store-drug-store-mass merchandisers, although most of the locations are more urban or near college campuses, so that threat may be limited too.

“Operating a small format is something that everybody talks about and more and more retail channels are doing, but it’s not easy to do,” said Hale. Ahold and Kroger tried to introduce smaller fresh formats—bfresh and Main & Vine, respectively, and closed them down. Publix plans to open a small-format store focused on organics to compete with Sprouts and Whole Foods. But none of the big supermarkets have really had much success in terms of rolling out a small format to compete with c-stores, he said.

3. The E-Commerce Threat
E-commerce has seen about a $316 billion increase in sales since 2007, Hale said. Total U.S. retail e-commerce sales for fourth-quarter 2017 was $119.08 billion, up 16.9% from the prior year’s $101.88 billion, compared to 14.4% from 2016 to 2017. That’s 9.1% of total retail sales, up from 8.2% from 2016. “Without question, Amazon is delivering the growth,” said Hale.

But he asked, who will fall prey to e-commerce next? Comparing the “tsunami” of store closings against e-commerce growth, it’s clear which kinds of retailers have suffered the most—specialty retailers, consumer electronics, apparel, books and office supplies.

“It would appear that dollar, convenience and gas would be the least likely to be impacted by e-commerce going forward,” Hale said.

4. Store Closings
While c-stores may be the retail channel least affected by e-commerce directly, there are also indirect effects, he said. Store closings in other channels can have a big influence on traffic.

“You need to think about where you are located and what type of store is closing,” he said. “If it’s a big anchor store that you rely on for traffic at particular locations, then you’ve got to think about what are you going to do with those locations that are no longer going to have traffic anymore. The whole notion of managing store closings has to be top priority in your mind in a world like this, because you’re going to see traffic patterns really change, and you’re going to see sales in some of your stores take a dive just because you’re not getting the same people driving by as they were before.”

5. Modifying the Box Experience
Hale talked about some of the “mind-boggling” things retailers are doing to “modify the box experience” to try to compete with e-commerce. There’s a lot going on to try to enhance the in-store experience:

  • Tiffany’s is offering actual Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on the iconic film.
  • Sak’s opened a wellness spa with fitness classes.
  • American Eagle is offering free laundry facilities.
  • Urban Outfitters is selling pizza.
  • Walmart is hosting holiday parties.
  • Hy-Vee and Kroger are investing in restaurants and food courts.
  • Gelson’s is opening in in alcohol, beer and wine bars.

Hale cited a Wall Street Journal report about consumers “finding love in the frozen-food aisle” as grocery stores become more of a place where people can meet to socialize.

“Think about what’s being invested by these grocery chains to make sure that people have a reason to come to a store, not just to shop, but to socialize,” he said. “How can you take advantage of that in terms of how your formats are evolving? Is there something else you can do either to train your people to be more interactive with shoppers, or do something different in your store to make it so that people do want to come to your store regardless of whether they need gas?”

6. Females Driving Trips
C-stores have always had the lead in terms of more men shop in c-stores than any other channel. But that is changing, said Hale. Women are now almost 50% of the trips to c-stores, still lower than other channels, but is may be an opportunity for c-stores to invest in formats that might attract females.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see 7-Eleven investing in a private-label line of cosmetics,” he said. “It’s a category that’s really important to women. It’s a category that’s really important to drug stores, and so is there an opportunity for you to think about how you might tweak your assortment depending on how close you might be to Rite Aid store that’s going to close down—600 Rite Aid stores are going to close down in the next 18 months, so there’s an opportunity if you’re around those stores to think about how you recapture some of those trips that are going to be lost to them.”

7. Door to Car, Door to Door, Door to Fridge
Amazon may not be a big worry for c-stores as much as competitive foodservice retailers like McDonald’s, Taco Bell or KFC if they are going to be offering online ordering and delivery direct to consumers, according to Hale.

“A real race that you have to be concerned with is this whole new move from door to car to door to door to inside a home or inside a fridge,” he said. “Amazon is testing ways to get right inside your home and deliver products with its Amazon Key. Walmart is testing the fact that you can order online and have somebody get into your home and put products away in your refrigerator.”

Both are opening or expanding grocery pickup sites, and small grocers are also experimenting with online ordering and pickup. And grocery delivery services such as instacart and Shipt are catching on.

And today, while it’s still very much a niche business, there is also now an abundance of meal-kit options such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and plated. Amazon Go sells Amazon Meal Kits. Hale is not so bullish that these are going to be a big deal, at least for c-stores, because about a quarter of the people who buy these meal kits are gourmet cooks—not a big convenience channel demographic.

More concerning to him is home delivery of meals by the likes of Grubhub and UberEats. A “big battle” is coming now with fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC and Taco Bell investing in this $100 billion delivery market. There’s a lot of activity going on in this space, said Hale.

8. Strange Bedfellows
“We’re in a whole new game when it comes to merger and acquisition activity today,” said Hale. This activity is going to change the way retail works. He calls it “strange bedfellows.”

“Who would have thought that Target would have bought Shipt. Who would have thought that Campbell’s Soup would have bought a snack company, Snyder’s-Lance,” he said. “The fact that Albertson’s merges with Rite Aid. You’ve got CVS and Walmart talking with health insurance companies to create new complete business models.”

Hale said c-store retailers need to think about getting into and acquiring new businesses that may not have anything to do with c-stores, or that can complement existing c-store formats.

Greg Lindenberg is Editor, CSP Magazine and CSP Daily News. 

insightRS_blkblu

Advertisements

Doing that one thing that makes your store better than the rest and lets your customers know that you care.

November 14, 2017

I was speaking to Imad Khalil from Kelly’s Fuel Mart in Melvindale, Michigan about the Scan Data Service that we provide for Altria and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Incentive Programs.  Imad was wondering if the service was right for his business but after speaking with our team of experts he knew this program was key to staying competitive in his area and that is something that he takes very seriously.

I enjoyed visiting with Mr. Khalil where I learned more about his business and what he does to provide a great service to his customers.  He explained that his latest customer service feature was the addition of U-Glove’s at each pump station.  “U-Glove?” I asked.  I was so interested to hear more because I can’t stand to have the smell of gas on my hands.  He explained that each pump is equipped with a dispenser of plastic gloves that are provided at no cost to the consumer.  These disposable gloves offer a clean and germ free experience for the customer.  “I LOVE IT!” I said, “Can I share this on my blog?  Tell me more!!”  He said there is a cost to the merchant for providing this service but he believes that these little things make a big difference to his customers.  [I know I would drive out of my way and pay a few pennies more per gallon to have a nice clean environment.  Not to mention saving a manicure.]  Even if the gloves aren’t used, I believe that just offering this service shows that Imad cares about his customers.  I am certain that Moms with a carload of kids would greatly appreciate having gloves since they aren’t always able to go inside and wash their hands.

So – Good job Kelly’s Fuel Mart and thanks for being an Insight Retail Software Scan Data Customer!  We appreciate your business.

U-Glove


Imad is also participating in InsightRS Scan Data Program that keeps him competitive in his tobacco market.

Tobacco Scan Data Program For

Altria and RJ Reynolds

Your Key To Higher Tobacco Profits

Altria’s PM USA 2017 Retail Leaders Program and RJ Reynolds Scan Data Reporting Program offer incentive money to retailers who submit transaction-level scan data (“Scan Data”) from their Point of Sale on a daily basis. Inclusion in the program also entitles you to offer multi-pack and loyalty discounts.

If you sell cigarettes you need to be on this program!

We help you compete with the big guys.

http://www.insightrs.com/scandataservices

Call Chris Floyd for more information:  518.633.4111 x 108

 


Another Successful POS System Install with Altria & RJR Scan Data

August 29, 2017

It’s impossible to update and brag on each and every POS / Scan Data Customer [there are too many] but when we get a great photo showing happy customers and our state-of-the-art equipment, it’s time to slow down and share.  This success story comes from Jackson, Tennessee where Keith from R & D purchased a complete 2-lane POS System for each of his three stores.

Tobacco Place II

Tobacco Place II

1660 S. Highland Ave – Jackson, TN 38301

Cigarettes Cheaper

 2643 N. Highland Ave – Jackson TN 38305

The Smoke Shop

721 Old Hickory Blvd – Jackson, TN 38305

 

This POS System features:

  • Touch Dynamic All-in-one Terminals with a rear facing customer display  Customers can easily see the items purchased and their amount due
  • Epson T20 printer for fast receipt printing
  • Reflection POS®
  • backOffice™ Software
  • Sterling Payment Technologies with full EMV Chip Card Reader
  • Scan Data Services for Tobacco Incentive Rebates

Call today to get a quote for your POS System with Scan Data Service.  We have partnered with Sterling Payment Technologies to offer interest free financing.  Give us a call for more details.  Check our our website here:  http://insightRS.com

Call Chris at:  518.633.4111 x 108

 


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

July 26, 2017

Back office for C-Store Cigarette Tax

As tobacco laws constantly change, getting the most value from your tobacco sales has NEVER been as important as now.  Some things we can control –  our store front, advertising, community outreach, etc.  Many things we cannot control like Tobacco purchase age.  As laws change, sales can also change.  STAY competitive with Scan Data Rebates offered by Altria and RJR.  Insight Retail Software’s team of professionals can get your store submitting data ASAP.

Call Chris @ 518 633 4111 x 108 for more information.

Don’t light a fire to your profits, make your profits grow!

I mentioned tobacco laws changing.  The latest change comes to us from Gov. Chris Christie. When New Jersey law takes effect on November 1, 2017, NJ will become the 3rd state to set legal tobacco age to 21.  Hawaii and California being the first two states to make this change.  Gov. Christie stated that “By raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, we are giving young people more time to develop a maturity and better understanding of how dangerous smoking can be and that it is better to not start smoking in the first place,”

But not everyone is happy about this change.  As Nacs Online reports:

Meanwhile, merchants are disappointed about the change, given that neighboring states will still sell tobacco products to those between the ages of 19 and 21,

WFMZ-TV reports. “It’s going to be a negative business-wise,” said Sal Cassar, owner of Towne Market in Phillipsburg, N.J. “There’s no two ways about that.”

 

Cassar estimated that customers between the ages of 19 and 21 buy around a third of his tobacco sales.

“You don’t only lose the cigarette sell, [you also lose] any other associated product that the customer was going to buy,” he told the news source.

Meanwhile, in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have increased the state’s tobacco buying age to 21, the Press-Herald reports. “I believe that at 18 they are mature enough to make a decision and I’m tired of living in a society where we social engineer our lives,” the governor said of his veto.


While some claim that states are losing huge tax money others claim that the health care savings is worth it.  There are arguments on both sides. Some say 18 is mature enough to fight for our country, it should be mature enough to buy tobacco products.  While others think this maturity is reached at the age of 21. Many believe that the age increase will not reduce younger smokers activity.
The biggest losers in this debate are the state line retail stores that will lose business to the customer that drives 5 minutes across the state line to make their purchase(s).  So hey New Jersey – give us a call. 1 store or 100, we’ll take care of you.
Bottom line – get scanning!  Get the MOST out of your sales.
Online-cash
 insightRS_blkblu

Scan Data Services: Your Key To Higher Tobacco Profits

July 19, 2017

Altria’s PM USA 2017 Retail Leaders Program and RJ Reynolds Scan Data Reporting Program offer quarterly rebates to retailers who submit transaction-level scan data (“Scan Data”) from their Point of Sale on a daily basis. Enrollment in these programs also entitle you to take advantage of other programs such as multi-pack discounts and loyalty incentives.

InsightRS is offering the Scan Data Service that will allow you to take advantage of this great opportunity for more profit from your tobacco sales. Using our automated daily process, we submit the necessary data for you to comply with the program requirements. We collect either 25% of your quarterly rebate or $25/month per store for providing this service.

arrow-blue-1

Compete In Your Market

Gain Access To Multi-Pack Discounts And Loyalty Funds

  • Inclusion in Scan Data Program enables you to offer Multi-Pack Discounts
  • Optional Loyalty Program entitles you to offer addition discounts to your customers

We Do All Of The Work

Our Fully-Automated Service Does All Of The Work

 

Call Chris today – 518 633 4111 x 108

Visit our website for more information:  Click here!

insightRS_blkblu


%d bloggers like this: