How Consumer Products Are Adapting To Convenience

The pandemic has reshaped our lives in many different ways, including buyer behavior. We buy items we traditionally haven’t purchased and we are transacting in new and different ways, causing retailers and product manufacturers to pivot. That is especially true for convenience stores and the consumer products they stock. C-stores have been on the front lines for much of the crisis and remain a critical part of the consumer supply chain, so product marketers need to adjust to capitalize on this growing outlet.

Convenience retailers have seen an increase in sales of grocery staples since the start of the pandemic as customers increasingly turn to them for pantry items they may have been traditionally bought at a grocery store. For example, 52% say they are adding more cleaning/toiletry items, 31% are emphasizing ready-to-heat meals and 28% are showcasing multi-pack/bulk items.* This kind of behavior showcases the adjustment consumers are making to avoid larger stores and shop even more conveniently. Product marketers should recognize that there is an opportunity to grow sales and share by expanding their view of c-stores.

When you think about it, a lot of these shifts are already in place. Wine, traditionally a premium product reserved for liquor stores and specialty shops, is now a mainstay at large format convenience stores. C-store are also carrying more premium food products as “grab and go” options, providing workers and families better, broader options for meals and snacks. The convenience store of today is becoming a smaller, more accessible grocery store and consumer products companies must think of it in those terms.

Convenience stores will continue to be an important part of the retail landscape and a key channel for products companies. Convenience store shopping is now a way of life and will be here to stay long after the pandemic, provide fertile ground for the astute consumer products marketer.

* The NACS Retailer Member survey was fielded in late March and closed April 1. A total of 105 member companies, representing a cumulative 1,828 stores, participated in the survey.