‘Store of the Future’ comes to Port Douglas

Further extending its ‘Store of the Future’ network, NightOwl celebrated the opening of one of its latest store concepts at Port Douglas in far north Queensland on April 2.

Jane Boler.

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First confirmed at the annual NightOwl conference in August 2013, the ‘Store of the Future’ concept was created in response to the fast-paced nature of the convenience industry.

NightOwl Director of Marketing and Buying Craig Scarr said Store the Future allows the group to offer more than just the usual tobacco, cold drinks and confectionery.

“We now offer fresh fruit and vegetables, coffee, healthy meal options and a digital presence that was normally reserved for large supermarkets,” he said.

NightOwl stores across Australia are being upgraded with an innovative new layout and product/service offering to fit the Store of the Future format, with one-third of stores already upgraded.

“Refurbishments are progressing at an astonishing rate and the network of stores is quickly evolving,” Mr Scarr said. “We have rolled out state-of-the-art LED screens at more than half of the stores across the network. The screens feature highly visible LED technology, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Both night and day, the screens simply can’t be missed.”

In the Portico Building on Macrossan Street, the 178sqm newly opened NightOwl store incorporates a variety of Store of the Future offerings, including a Fun Wall for frozen beverages and ice-creams, a premium coffee offering, and an on-the-go foodservice offering incorporating healthy alternatives and traditional favourites. The store offer also includes a comprehensive health and beauty section and an extensive range of grocery and fresh produce, in additional to newspapers, magazines and a mobile phone accessory unit. Digital technology is also utilised to notify customers of special offers and enhance the overall shopping experience.

NightOwl has become a welcome addition for locals and tourists, with CEO Craig Urquhart commenting that the Port Douglas demographic is quite complex, with locals, tourists and workers forming the bulk of the customer base.

“An influx of tourists is not uncommon and a strong visual presence ensures the store is made known to people passing through the town,” he said. “Tourists will generally want a one-stop shop and for that reason the range is broad. A big factor for local workers is being able to walk in and buy quick, healthy, affordable lunch options and there are a number of competitive food options to satisfy this.”

A premium coffee offering, providing an in-store café experience is proving to be one of the standout features of the store, with the fresh, quality coffee backed by an 100 per cent taste guarantee.

“The digital presence within the store is notable also with the TVs and mobile application that pings users and notifies them of promotions and specials,” Mr Urquhart said. “The store features an easy-to-navigate layout with eye-catching imagery throughout.”

The top five selling products in store are: bananas, Frozen Coke Regular (490ml), hot chickens, Mt Franklin 600ml and 1.5lt, Four ‘N’ Twenty 175G Meat Pie and Coke 1.25lt.

NightOwl Port Douglas Franchisee Mukund Kathiriya previously held positions at Woolworths as a replenishment team member and as a supervisor at IGA. Mr Kathiriya felt that Port Douglas in particular needed a convenience store, with it uncommon to find an area that doesn’t have at least one.

“People want convenience now more than ever,” he said.

“We have been trying to get more and more customers and the regular customer base is increasing as a result. We are building a good relationship with the locals and then we are going to focus more on the tourists. We are meeting them and making sure we get to know their buying habits. We are sure to let them all know of deals and promotions.”

Mr Kathiriya commented that digitalising stores is a big factor for convenience.

“Local engagement through social media is important because ultimately people come for convenience and need to know you’re there,” he said.

NightOwl Port Douglas is open from 6am to midnight, seven days a week.

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