Whether they’re fishing in Lake Okeechobee or camping in the Big Thicket, escaping for the weekend to Branson or driving the Robert Trent Jones golf trail, motorists know Murphy USA is there when they’re ready for a fill-up and a snack.
Based in El Dorado, Ark., Murphy operates more than 1,200 stores in 23 states and prides itself on low prices and friendly service. Stations are typically located near a Walmart store and tend to be smaller, kiosk-format stores, while our 213 Murphy Express stores are stand-alone stations and tend to be larger, traditional convenience store formats.
Today, Murphy is embracing a new prototype store design that offers an even faster and more efficient experience for the on-the-go customer.
To develop the new design, Murphy turned to Chute Gerdeman, an award-winning strategic brand and design firm based in Columbus, Ohio. The new design was translated to both the smaller Murphy USA stores and the larger Murphy Express layouts.
Key to the success of the new prototype is its ability to attract more customers into the store. To deliver a “wow” experience, the chosen concept focuses on welcoming the customer to a fast, reliable, cost-conscious encounter. Murphy’s goals for the prototype were to drive customers to the fountain, and to increase sales of meal replacements, coffee, beer and soft drinks.
The new, larger Express format is 3,450 square feet, which has made space to expand the traditional snack, tobacco and beverage offerings. New Express locations now include 24 fountain heads, eight ICEE heads, four coffee stations and eight cappuccino heads, as well as a larger variety of snacks and non-food items.
The Grand Tour
The first step on the customer journey is the gas canopy—designed to be light and open, clearly highlighting the price—which is often a factor for gas buyers in deciding which brand to choose.
Speed was the No. 1 driver behind the updated, inviting exterior design. The storefront conveys speed and convenience with an open entrance devoid of barriers.
Inside, the store layout is open, inviting and uncluttered, conveying simple and easy shopping. A more organized cashwrap and simplified messages reduce clutter and eliminate customer confusion and frustration.
The company partnered with Atlanta-based store implementation provider RetailOne, with very aggressive goals. To achieve those goals, the RetailOne team worked in a closed test store to experiment with materials, processes and installation techniques to develop the most efficient implementation system. As of this writing, RetailOne has executed the new concept in more than 70 stores.
The results from the new concept stores have been incredibly positive. Both basket size and total food and beverage purchases have increased in the redesigned stores. In the new Murphy Express locations, both merchandise sales and margins are 30% higher than that of other large-format locations.
Going forward, Murphy USA plans to open 86 locations in 2015, six of which will be large-format Express stores. In 2016, another 85 locations are planned, including six larger Express stores. All will feature the new design, which promises a true convenience experience fast, friendly and fresh.