GLENDALE, Ariz. -- From consumer insights—including some you may not want to hear—to new products and social-media strategy, the first day of CSP's Convenience Retailing University (CRU) conference in Glendale, Ariz., provided a wealth of ideas for retailers.
Here's a collection of some to bring back to your c-store office ...
Cigarette vs. Vape Customers
While the elusive e-vapor consumer accounts for only a small percentage of c-store tobacco customers, figures from Altria Group show they spend more on their average trip to a convenience store than cigarette buyers.
Don't Leave Money on the Table
A majority of cigarette purchases are straightforward “mission” trips, meaning tobacco-only baskets, but for those that include purchases of nontobacco items, there's an opportunity to increase basket size, said Altria Group's Krister Hampton, manager of trade relations. One tip: Cross promotion could encourage more of those “inconsistent” purchases.
Significant statistics about app use from Brad Van Otterloo, chief revenue officer, Koupon Media:
- 25% of people abandon an app after only one use.
- The average churn of a retail app is 75% over 90 days.
- Average users spend 80% of their mobile time with their top three apps.
How to cope? Van Otterloo recommended that you ask lapsed users to come back. They went through all of the trouble to download the app, they saw value at one point and already like the brand. He suggested reaching out to them individually, even if it’s only to a handful periodically, to ask them why they left and invite them back. Offer them an incentive; it’s easier to get a lapsed user than a new user.
During a shopper-insights program, Technomic's Donna Hood Crecca challenged retailers to stop using the “Bubba” label. It’s disparaging, she said, and retailers need to break out of the mindset that the c-store customer is just blue-collar guys. “It will help us compete more effectively," she said. "Bubba is more complex, open-minded and sophisticated than we think he is. And he’s not the only consumer we should be thinking about.”
Two other user groups with strong potential:
- Functional eaters are male, young millennials and typically of a lower income and engaged in technology and social media. They look for craveable, satisfying foods in an atmosphere that is above all convenient.
- Busy balancers are tech-savvy female millennials of a mid- to upper-income level. They can be enticed by breakfast times, beverages and healthy but craveable items.
Both busy balancers and functional eaters, already strong c-store users, defy the traditional bounds of “Bubba” and are worth deeper attention by c-store retailers and suppliers.
'The Golden Goose'
In discussing the social-media playbook, Joshua Swanson, CEO of GTMA and chairman of Razz Interactive, both digital agencies, offered this actionable tip: Visit business.facebook.com. “It’s a really powerful tool,” he said. There retailers can find engagement rates for business content. “Those are the people that took action. That’s the golden goose of social media.” Find the content that is most seen and most engaged with. The audience wants more of that content. Study those posts and try to find out why.
The Realities of Marketing on Facebook
Also from Swanson: Remember that Facebook is now a public company and, as such, is out to make money. “They are pushing organic content down, specifically business content, because they want you to advertise,” he said. “If you’re going to go hard on Facebook, you also have to have someone on your team who is ready to go hard on Facebook paid. That’s the just reality.”
Beyond the C-Store
Store tours can come in many shapes and sizes. While visits to two convenience stores on the opening morning of CRU provided familiar touchpoints for retailers to note, a visit to upscale grocer Sprouts Farmers Market was an eye-opener in more subtle ways, from the right approach to eggs to turning away billion-dollar suppliers in the name of healthy ingredients.
Retailers were pleasantly surprised by their first look at Monster Energy’s newest addition, the long-awaited Monster Hydro, which made its debut at CRU this week. Following a slow six months for energy-drink sales, a lot is riding on the line extension, which moves Monster into the enhanced-water space for the first time. Click here for a look at the new product.