What is the difference between a grocery store and a convenience store? Simple. Grocery stores have a wide variety of products, while convenience stores have a limited number of product and brand options. Consumers look to convenience stores when they need everyday items and intend on consuming them shortly after purchase. This does not mean convenience stores should avoid incorporating strategies employed by grocery stores, such as allowing mobile orders, implementing self-serve technology, and expanding fresh and prepared food sections.

Make Shopping Easier with Technology
What’s more convenient than being able to place a pickup order from your phone? It’s a widely used tactic that was increasingly adopted by businesses of many types during the COVID-19 pandemic, and convenience stores can benefit too. To put it simply, allowing mobile pickup orders will help your convenience store become more convenient, allowing consumers to quickly get the items they need without having to wait in line at a checkout. Here are several strategies to consider implementing:

● Have a separate entrance for picking up items, as well as a designated pickup area inside your store.
● Create self-checkout options. Research shows nearly half of consumers choose a cashier-less checkout, and about 86% have left a store due to long lines.
● Streamline the ordering process by allowing consumers to select the food and drinks they will be purchasing via self-service kiosks.
Allow consumers to shop at the gas pump, offering them an easy way to grab a snack or beverage without having to wait in line. This can help increase sales because people filling up on gas often don’t enter your store to shop.

Expand Grocery Section
Has your significant other asked you to pick up a couple of items on your way home from work, but you didn’t want to go into a grocery store only to be overwhelmed by the options and the time it will take to find what you’re looking for? 

Expanding the grocery area of your convenience store by offering fresh and frozen grocery items can open you up to more consumer groups. Eighty-three percent of products sold at a convenience store are consumed within an hour of purchase, and consumers frequently are incorporating the fresh items they purchase immediately as part of a meal. The number of fruits and vegetables sold at convenience stores is comparable to pretzel and popcorn sales. The goal is not to offer more brands and options but to have more space to sell fruits and vegetables. Consider expanding cooler areas for meat and dairy items, too.

More Prepared Food

Consumers are heading back into work and often are looking for a quick meal to grab and go. That’s because they’re keeping less food in their pantries and are looking for quick and easy options.

By expanding the prepared food section at your convenience store, you can reach these people who are looking for a hot, fresh and ready meal. Make it more convenient by offering these items via mobile order, and remember that you will need to be able to store hot and cold items in your pickup area.

Does your store need a facelift? Keep up with industry trends to better serve those who appreciate the ease and accessibility of convenience stores. Fox Arneson has built all of the Woodman’s Food Market convenience stores and gas/lube stations, so we have the experience to simplify these upgrades and make your store more convenient for your customers. Find out how we can take your convenience store to the next level.