Extending customer’s journey through the convenience store

convenience store format planning

Posted on 09 August 2023 in

Craig Phillipson, MD at Shopworks joins Carolyn Schnare to explore format planning and answers these questions.

How can retailers quickly improve their convenience retail performance? 

Examine the relationship between the location of the store entrance to the location of the cash desk in store. Create basket building journeys; look to extend customers route and identify ways to increase customer exposure to key categories as they walk from the entrance to the till.

What is interesting regarding food service delivery at the moment? 

Food service is becoming increasingly important for all forecourt retailers.

We’ve seen exponential growth in coffee and bakery, but we’re also seeing branded foodservice alliances become more divergent as retailers seek to deliver complimentary solutions for all day parts and for all pockets.

Local solutions are being sought to cater for local tastes and everyone is looking for ways to bring healthier food service solutions to fuel forecourts, whether proprietary or partnership.

How do you maximise the EV opportunity on a fuel forecourt? 

Its early in the EV journey and our understanding of EV driver behaviours and habits are limited. Recent research suggests that only 25% of EV drivers charging on a forecourt will enter the store.

A key draw for many drivers is the loo. So it’s more important than ever for retailers to manage a hygiene maintenance program and strategise WC facilities when format planning.

But really, we might need to switch up our approach. Whilst retailers should still work hard to pull more people out of their vehicles and into the store, they may also need to pivot and consider how they can safely deliver a CR offer to the vehicle.

Aside from convenience retail, what other non-fuels retail propositions do you see as an opportunity when format planning? 

Car wash, for many reasons.

  • Universal appeal (EV and ICE drivers need to wash their cars – research shows that majority of people in the UK wash their cars 2 x p/month)
  • Environmental appeal (Auto uses less water than bucket washes)
  • High margin (high cost of investment, but low operational and maintenance investment)
  • Increased loyalty (Circle K subscription). Subscription captures lifetime share of wallet, drives up visit frequency and appeals to gig-economy / professional drivers.
  • Halo effect on CR.

What is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity for forecourt retailers over the next 5 years? 

Data presents the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity – the gathering, analysis and use of high quality data.

Firstly, you need data to understand your customer. Who are they? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? How can you impact their purchasing behaviours? Once you have this, you can make decisions about how to adapt your business to suit their needs.

Secondly, you need to continuously track the positive impact of any adaptation to your retail solution.

Watch Craig and Carolyn discuss how format planning can help to extend a customer’s journey through a convenience store.

Get the latest insights, sign up for our newsletter