C-Stores and the Pandemic
From a consumer point of view, the allure of convenience stores is boldly upfront in their name: convenience. While c-stores are recognized as being the ultimate get-in-get-out option, much of their convenience factor can be attributed to their location, typically in high-trafficked areas located within proximity to scores of consumers.
C-stores have a tremendous opportunity in 2020. In this new era of social distancing and safe touches, consumers are looking for ways to minimize contact with others, while at the same time keeping their refrigerators stocked.
A look into the future
Since Spring 2020 and the first effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, c-stores have realized a significant increase in demand for foods like eggs, milk, butter and fresh fruit. Newer requests are also coming in for products that haven’t been considered c-store staples in the past, items like ready-to-eat meals, fresh meats, frozen foods and sanitizers, which give c-stores the opportunity to live up to their five-year growth projections. To manage this increase in sales and the consumer’s desire for a fast and easy experience, c-stores must get creative in their efforts to increase shopping efficiency and keep shelves and freezers well-organized and stocked.
A sudden surge in business is definitely a win for c-store owners, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. More customer demand also creates a demand for more space, which is difficult without enlarging floor plans. Many c-stores are mitigating that challenge by adding pusher display systems to their shelves. These systems, like SimpliStock™ Wire and Metal System from Retail Space Solutions®, instantly provide better presentation and deliver the organization and accessibility that consumers are looking for.
Works with existing shelves
SimpliStock pusher systems are unique in that they are designed to work with the shelves and infrastructure already in place. These modular systems feature a center pusher and sidewalls that install onto existing metal or wire shelving in minutes, without tools or headaches.
“We are seeing a significant shift in consumer trends due to the pandemic, with more and more people looking to c-stores as a source for food items,” said Joe Crum, Director of Marketing and eCommerce for Retail Space Solutions “Because of that, many c-stores are expanding their product availability to meet consumer demand. The need for more products on the shelf and well-structured product displays has never been greater.”
Adding pusher display systems like SimpliStock to freezers and refrigerators makes it easy to keep up with stocking and organization. These pusher display systems also keep products front-faced all day long, much to the convenience of both staff and shoppers. The modular nature of SimpliStock makes it quickly adjustable to accommodate various packages. The pusher mechanism is designed to secure larger, bulkier packages in place, but require little effort to retract and restock. In short, shoppers find what they need quickly, while it’s easier for staff to stay on top of shelf inventory.
Center of the store peg option
It’s common for convenience stores to use pegboard displays in the center of the store. Between inventory management, organization challenges and the tendency for bags to tear, pegs are anything but ideal. There is a pusher system alternative to pegs: SimpliStock Peg, which installs onto existing peg walls to provide the same tidiness and product visibility as the wire and metal shelf products. SimpliStock Peg pusher systems, which install tool-free in minutes with the patent-pending SwiftHook™, protect product packaging, keep shelves organized and always front faced – no more false out-of-stocks.
Into the unknown
“The convenience store is back and in a big way,” said Crum. “While we aren’t sure what the future is going to look like, we do know that convenience stores are going to play a big part in providing consumers peace of mind.”
While it certainly has been a difficult time for consumers of all types, c-stores are innovating and are finding new ways to keep things moving forward, all while providing safer shopping environments for people who are looking to reduce their exposure. As the demand for new products on the c-store shelves increases, owners are modifying their business models to ensure consumers can always get what they need when they’re in a pinch.