The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores’ most forward-looking and comprehensive research project to date, Convenience 2030, reveals the challenges and opportunities in the sector.
AACS commissioned the Australian Consumer Retail and Services (ACRS) research unit at Monash Business School to undertake the research, which involved extensive interviews with convenience leaders across the world to identify the key changes, trends and opportunities for the convenience industry in the lead-up to the year 2030.
While the consensus seemed to be that, given the ever-shifting technology landscape, evolving consumer behaviours and population characteristics, the future for the industry is difficult to predict, some key themes emerged.
“The research highlighted the opportunity and importance for our industry to establish new strategic partnerships, be it with fresh-food producers, niche-diet providers, alternative-fuel companies, electric or driverless car companies, delivery-service providers, or loyalty programs,” AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said.
“Convenience stores will also need to focus on attracting new customer segments to ensure they remain a pillar in local communities. Our customer base today is largely male-dominated, so an opportunity exists to adapt our offer to encourage more women seeking fresh, healthy food and safe environments to our stores.”
Millennials are another increasingly important target market for the industry. The following quote is from the managing director of a North American convenience chain: “Just as millennials are becoming more educated, they’re entering the middle class, so they have disposable income. They’re also being led by their mobile devices and the influences of their peer group, who are all talking about healthy and ethical food, so that trend is definitely translating into an enhanced offer inside and outside the store.”
As well as giving a comprehensive picture of the current and future state of the international convenience sector, Convenience 2030 details a series of ‘planned quick wins’ accessible to the industry, such as self-service, beacon devices and destination drivers.
It also outlines ‘planned innovations’ that could be just around the corner, such as operational automation, predictive systems and targeted promotions.
A key takeout, according to Mr Rogut, is that the future of the convenience industry in Australia looks bright, with opportunities aplenty despite the challenges to come.
“It will be fascinating to see how the convenience industry evolves through to 2030,” he said. “The AACS previously commissioned the Convenience 2020 report in 2011, and the drivers and forecasts made then have largely come to fruition.”
The AACS Convenience 2030 report is available free to all AACS members and for $3,950 for non-members. Email email@example.com for your copy.