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CStorePro Blog

Your resource on modern convenience store management

Previously, we’ve discussed how a growing number of Americans are using food selection as a factor in choosing their gas station. Now, let’s hone in on the most important meal of the day: breakfast!  An important part of gas station management is reading the trends in the industry, and this is one that is gaining steam quickly!

Starting this past February, Wawa become the latest national chain to offer mobile ordering options to their customers. The initial soft launch was localized to Philadelphia area locations while the service was tested. Earlier this month, the service became available to all Wawa locations.

Mobile ordering is nothing new, having been implemented by national chains such as Starbucks and Panera Bread. Indeed, dozens of large retails have some form of mobile ordering system, either for delivery or in-store pickup. The C-store industry, however, has been slow to adopt the technology.

One of the challenges of opening a C-store is choosing a design. While the traditional C-store layout is tried and true, the industry has not been immune to innovation, especially over the last several years. Whether you are thinking of making changes to an existing storefront, or looking to build from the ground up; one of the hottest pieces of convenience store news is all of the new design concepts popping up to choose from.

Despite having been available to the public since 2014, Apple Pay, the popular payment method offered by tech giant Apple, has been a slowly adopted method of payment among C-store owners. Whether store owners are afraid of additional fees to being weary of purchasing POS that will become obsolete soon, most stores haven’t hopped on the bandwagon as fast as Apple would have hoped.

It looks as though that’s about to change.

All eyes in the west are on Amazon as they prepare their new brick and mortar store, Amazon Go. However, a new contender may be on the rise in Shanghai. And while the new Amazon store will have human employees preparing fresh food items as well as other simple tasks, this new concept, currently being named “Wheelys 247” is said to not require any human labor, save for the occasional shelf restocking.

In a day and age when mobile phones seem to be attached to the masses at large, we are beginning to view our cell phones as extensions of ourselves in several ways—including financially.  With mobile payment options continuing to evolve, it’s clear that technology will soon be the law of the land, and our wallets show no sign of being excused from that.

In 2016, foodservice (including pre-prepared and commissary food, and hot/cold dispensed beverages) accounted for 21.7% of all in-store sales in all convenience stores across the US according to NACS Daily.

That is a 5.6% increase over 2015 and out of all non-tobacco categories, this 21.7% was the largest piece of the pie. It comes as no surprise to find that 2017’s numbers are projected to increase even more dramatically.

Developing team members successfully is essential in creating a positive retail environment for your convenience store.  Investing in, and fully developing your employees will help ensure your customers are well taken care of; which is half the battle of any service-oriented business.

It seems as if c-stores are always on the lookout for the next big thing to draw customers in. And while easier movie rental kiosks may get them outside the store, it may not be enough to entice them to come inside. But before you wind up spending your entire budget on the next big fad offering, it may be easier and more affordable to bring customers in.

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