With an increasing number of consumers shopping little and often, the world of convenience retail has not only experienced growth but also change. There have been a number of key developments within the convenience store sector including:
- Food to Go
- Click and Collect
- Integrated online shopping experience
The growth of convenience has not gone unnoticed by the multiples and this has meant that they have sought to expand within the convenience sector, acquiring sites in order to capitalise on the convenience industry. We have seen this in the UK with Morrison’s MLocal as well as Sainsbury’s Local (amongst others). However, this development is not just limited to the UK. Multiples such as Reitan and Valora in Europe have also grasped this opportunity. They have expanded through acquisition, with 72.3% and 85.0% year on year uplift in store numbers respectively in the year to June 2012 [Verdict Retail ‘European Convenience Retail].
Food To Go
Increasingly consumers are turning to their convenience stores to grab a quick bite, be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Convenience stores have come on leaps and bounds within this category, creating stores whose sole purpose is food to go, with express check outs and in-store microwaves. There has also been a shift in competition with some c-stores viewing McDonald’s and Starbucks as the main competitors to their food to go options.
Click and Collect
Many convenience stores have taken advantage of integrating online shopping within their stores. Click and collect offers customers the opportunity to order items online but then to collect them from a locker within a c-store. There is then the possibility for them to stock up on any items they may need at home within the store.
Integrated Shopping Experiences
Further ahead, convenience stores are at looking at enticing customers through shopping walls in areas such as train stations. Customers can then choose items on the wall via an app which they can then pick up at the end of their commute. The walls are also designed to encourage customers to plan their next meal and what they need to buy.