Coffee: A Hot Commodity for Convenience Stores

Photograph courtesy of Intouch Insight

Coffee is a big part of many consumers’ daily routines. Whether it’s a kick of caffeine in the morning or a little boost to power through the afternoon, just under 75% of consumers surveyed said they regularly purchase coffee[1]. So how can convenience stores edge out traditional coffee shops and be people’s go-to for their daily cup of joe? By leaning into their strength—convenience—while ensuring they deliver on great taste and customer experiences.

“Convenience stores are already a major player in the coffee scene,” says Intouch Insight President and CEO Cameron Watt. “Many have moved beyond urns filled with coffee brewed who knows when. Today’s consumers have higher expectations and convenience stores, for their part, are delivering.”

What do consumers want?

Of those who purchase coffee, 88% of consumers reported having made a purchase from a convenience store and 96% of those said they would again[1]. As with all purchases, price is a major factor when consumers are choosing where to buy their coffee, but a recent survey conducted by Intouch Insight shows convenience as the leading driver, followed closely by taste.

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This plays right into the hands of convenience stores. The top three reasons consumers reported completing a purchase at a convenience store over alternative retailers is because they can complete their purchase at the same time as filling up on gasoline, the transaction is faster than other retailers and the store is located along their commute.

However, it’s important to note that convenience does not trump brand loyalty. In fact, 70% of consumers said they would seek out their preferred brand of coffee rather than simply purchasing the most convenient cup.

Of the consumers who reported having purchased coffee from a convenience store but would not do so again, the leading reason was poor taste followed by the incorrect temperature, price and a bad store experience.

Rising gasoline prices mean many consumers are increasingly inclined to make more of their purchases at fewer locations. This means it’s the perfect opportunity for convenience stores to win customer’s loyalty by delivering great tasting coffee and an excellent customer experience while they’re already filling up their tanks.

Where are convenience stores missing the mark?

A recent audit of major convenience store chains found that nearly 10% of locations did not have operational coffee equipment and 6% did not have all the beverages advertised available for purchase. And while 97% had flavor shots or cream in the coffee area, 65% of locations did not offer milk alternatives[1].

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Additionally, mystery shoppers visiting these same locations reported that 33% of the time their presence was not acknowledged in a courteous manner by the employees and 11% of the time the cashier failed to make them feel like a valued customer. “While convenience stores can attract consumers by being just that—convenient—it’s crucial to deliver a good product as well as an overall experience to keep them coming back,” Says Watt.

Want to know more? Look for Intouch Insight’s 2022 Convenience Store Trends Report and join Cameron Watt at this year’s Outlook Leadership Conference where he'll dig deeper into the 16th annual Intouch Insight-CSP Operational Audit and Mystery Shop and announce the winner of this year's Intouch-CSP Customer Experience Award.

[1] All data is from Intouch Insight’s 2022 Convenience Store Trends Report



This post is sponsored by Intouch Insight


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