3 Key Trends For Convenience Marketers In 2021

Convenience store marketers have seen a lot of change in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, but change has been happening in the c-store space for quite some time.  C-stores have become an integral part of the retail landscape and a key channel for consumer products that are looking for new ways to grow.  As 2021 approaches c-store marketers will continue to have a fantastic opportunity to continue to shape the perception of convenience stores as viable, quality shopping destinations and steer into growth dynamics that benefit their long-term positioning.

Here are three key trends that convenience store marketers should account for in the coming year:

Attracting customers while traveling and commuting are limited – convenience stores have historically held a captive audience for in-store purchases when consumers stopped for gas.  Now that commuters are making fewer trips and working from home the ease of purchasing food, drinks and other necessities is no longer there.  That is forcing c-store marketers to employ more traditional media and promotional strategies and adopting tactics traditionally used by fast food chains, quick service restaurants and even grocery stores to bring customers and keep store traffic up.  Their easy in-and-out access is still a great advantage.

Changing product mixes for new shopping behaviors – consumers are shopping for all kinds of different products at c-stores as they look for faster and less dense options for quick trips to the store.  As c-stores grow as a more inclusive shopping destination they have an unmatched opportunity to provide a broader array of products that have traditionally been purchased at drug and grocery outlets.  Premium c-stores have done this with consumables like wine and apparel but are now extending into more staples and can continue to press the agenda to increase sales per transaction.

Growing margins and growing share – c-store marketers have to think about growth in two ways: how they can take share from other c-stores, grocery stores and drug stores, and how they can continue to increase margins throughout the store.  Several c-stores have expanded their food and drink offerings beyond grab and go options and offer everything from premium coffee to ice cream.  That, coupled with higher quality options for regularly purchased items, can elevate the role of convenience stores and ultimately position them to gain share and margin, fueling future growth and expansion.

C-store marketers will have to actively navigate challenging conditions in order to capture the vast opportunity in front of them, but the opportunity for c-store marketers is significant.  The way customers purchase is getting turned over as a result of recent events and new buyer behavior is being established quickly.  C-stores can continue to present themselves as an easy, functional shopping solution for consumers and innovative marketing will continue to be an integral part of that shift.