In a COVID-19 era marked by pain points for retailers and consumers alike, operations that are seeing the greatest levels of success are the ones that have put systems in place to speed up the shopping trip. It seems a bit counterintuitive, but helping customers get out of the store quicker actually leads to high sales.
That’s especially the case for convenience stores, which are experiencing a surge in business across the board due in large part to the quick in & out nature of the shopping experience.
Shoppers in 2020 are looking to quickly make selections, quickly make their transactions and quickly get out to minimize exposure to staff and patrons. “Fast” has always been the c-store strength, but even today it’s critical to help speed things along at all levels, from shelves to checkout.
“Perhaps now more than ever, keeping shelves organized everywhere from the center of the store to the freezers is important if a c-store wants to grow sales,” said Joe Crum, director of marketing and e-commerce for Retail Space Solutions. “The environment in the c-store is changing, right before our eyes, as fewer people are commuting to their jobs and traditional highway travel slowed to a trickle.”
New travel patterns and frequency have altered the definition of the c-store shopper, which is dramatically different than it was even as recently as January 2020.
“Fewer people are stopping in on the way to work to grab donuts for the office, pick up afternoon snacks or buy last-minute supplies on the way home,” Crum said. “However, primarily because of the efficiency of the c-store shopping experience, many more consumers are using c-stores to stock up on staples.”
That’s supported by the National Association of Convenience Stores, which reports that while consumers are making less frequent trips to c-stores, shoppers are spending about 20% more per visit in 2020 than they did the previous year. The better stores become at helping speed the process of selection and purchase, the odds become stronger that consumers will spend even more.
Dave Aron, a convenience store expert and professor of marketing at Dominican University, River Forest, IL, believes that the relatively smaller size of the typical c-store floorplan gives them an advantage over other retail operations. Aron told Fast Company that many shoppers have developed “COVID-19 fueled agoraphobia that makes them want to avoid large stores with many people, not all of them masked and practicing social distancing.”
Aron is quoted saying, “You have to keep the revenue coming in. If it takes radical changes to keep customers coming, you have to bear the expenses. Because margins tend to be so low in fast-moving retail like that, you do what you have to do.”
Retail Space Solutions is a leader in shelf display technology and the development of innovative systems designed to keep products organized and front-faced all day long, all while streamlining stocking and product rotation.
Investing in shelf management equipment – like SimpliStock™ modular pusher display systems from Retail Space Solutions – helps expedite the shopping experience for consumers and make stock management more efficient for stockers.
“We find that stores with SimpliStock pusher displays experience higher levels of customer satisfaction because those systems help eliminate disorganized shelves and the shopping delays they cause,” Crum said. “And with better customer satisfaction, comes better sales.
To learn more about the pusher display systems available from Retail Space Solutions, visit retailspacesolutions.com or call 800-279-5291.