The question for convenience stores

    The value of convenience stores has shown it’s true colours in recent months, with the behaviours of consumers adapting to current global issues.

    Most interestingly, people are still choosing to shop at convenience stores over alternatives due to the trust in hygiene standards in store, and to avoid large crowds, according to new research commissioned by the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS).

    Customer preferences to shop at convenience stores on the basis that they are safer and less crowded has held true since the pandemic broke in March.

    On the other hand, however, the new research shows initial spikes in demand for grocery items has levelled as more traditional convenience product categories return to the force.

    “New AACS research on the way people shop during the pandemic, and how this has changed over the course of the past two months, vindicates the investment leading operators have made to ensure the environment they present is safe, clean and comfortable,” says AACS CEO Jeff Rogut.

    “Our research clearly shows that shoppers feel more comfortable in convenience stores and other small format stores than they do in supermarkets and large format stores, with safety being a key reason for this.

    “In other areas, the ways that convenience operators have adapted will likely prove more temporary.

    “For consumers who regularly visit convenience stores for top-up grocery items, demand for those items has remained steady during the pandemic. Convenience shoppers have bought more snacks, milk, bread, coffee and cleaning supplies, with sales to these customers increasing since March.

    “Hot coffee has continued its amazing growth in convenience stores.

    “However, for consumers who identify as supermarket shoppers, the increase in demand for grocery items has returned largely to pre-COVID levels.”

    Speaking on the fuel sector, Mr Rogut says: “…fuel has presented both an opportunity and a concern for convenience stores. Many customers have visited convenience stores to fill up and then have bought additional items to save time. Yet this destination impact is two-sided, as people have been traveling less and those fuel destination trips have become less frequent.”

    The question for many stores says Mr Rogut is, “…now that they have attracted new customers and provided additional services to their existing customers, is how do we ensure we keep them?”

    To view the research, click here.

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