Convenience stores are increasingly profiting from today’s culture. The ‘monthly shop’ is almost a thing of the past as more and more people prefer the ease of popping into their local convenience store to pick-up food for dinner – it’s quick, easy and less time-consuming than planning your life in advance – who has time to plan?
In England, there is one convenience store per every 1,302 people, according to Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). Some of these are packed together in high density population areas. With the average person visiting their convenience store 3.6 times a week – it is now fact that convenience stores sit at the heart of our communities.
So, how have stores sought to drive their customer footfall while competing with other local stores? Many have turned to a refit, focusing more on shopper missions. Others have added visual prompts on media screens or niche little areas such as ‘beer caves’ or coffee servers.
A complete redesign of a store can certainly add a modern touch, but sometimes there are simpler things to be done.
Some HTEC customers have integrated Iocaste to drive their shopper’s missions, this media content manager allows them to reinforce their brand and promote products and offers – a lot of customers act on promotional offers which help increase basket spend. Key messages have been deployed at the entrance of stores and with some creative shop keepers taking full advantage of the back of their counter, placing media screens on their tobacco dispensers to advertise and engage customers while they wait in queues. With HTEC’s new Gempay 3 terminal, convenience stores can even deploy adverts on to their payment terminal, delivering messages to make their customers feel special.
Communicating and engaging with customers is clearly key. But developing loyalty is another aspect which stores have to invest in. One of our older blogs discusses Customer Engagement and how worthwhile it is. Some stores invest in local charities and events, or home delivery and social media. And a lot of stores have integrated loyalty schemes to ensure that when someone is looking to get a loaf of bread or snack for lunch they will go to their store just for the points. This can be key to maintaining your footfall.
Finally, it seems that a big driver for customers to choose their local store over any other brand is due to friendly and helpful staff; someone to ask you how your day was and greet you with a smile. Here in the UK we love politeness and good customer service – it can truly make or break a business.
Many businesses believe that the only way to increase footfall is to decrease prices, however, they may actually find that it has more to do with consistency and engagement. Listening and becoming part of your local community, learning what it is they want can really make a store stand out. A ‘beer cave’ would sit quite nicely with some, but if you are closer to a park, a dedicated kids section or slush puppy machine may make the trip to the park the highlight of someone’s day. Our local convenience stores have a lot to offer communities and they have inevitably become a corner stone to our modern way of life.