Coffee Fuels Customers on the Go, Drives C-Store Profits

High-end coffee programs beating the cafe chains
Photograph: Shutterstock

It has become more challenging than ever to attract customers into the convenience store, but one way retailers can do so—while also time driving increased profitability—is with a high-end coffee program.

“Coffee beverages consumed away from home have exploded into a $5.8 billion industry, and American coffee drinkers average 3.2 cups of coffee a day,” said Christopher Scott, corporate director of fresh & food service, Core-Mark International, Inc.

Customers who are fueling up on their way to work in the morning appreciate the availability of fresh, high-quality coffee at their local c-store, and once they know it’s available, they come back again and again.

“Even more important is that 70% of consumers who purchase a coffee beverage purchase an additional oitem, increasing the profit dollars of their purchase,” said Scott.

Aaron Wilke, customer marketing manager, Farmer Brothers Co., a coffee supplier based in Northlake, Texas, agreed.

“Studies show that consumers are seeking out higher quality coffee across all outlets, and are willing to pay a premium for specialty coffee,” Wilke said. “This allows retailers to align their pricing to reflect the higher quality beverages, and helps retain in-store engagement as consumers look for food items to accompany their beverage.”

Offering a high-quality coffee program can help c-stores attract traffic they might otherwise lose to cafe chains.

At GT FastMart in Riverside, Calif., Store Manager Delma Sanders said she often promotes muffins, danishes or other items to go with the store’s premium coffee. The store offers four varieties of coffee, which are available fresh 24 hours a day.

“I track every transaction that we have in fountain [beverages] and coffee, because those are the money-makers,” Sanders said. “Those are the two items that can make or break a store, because the margins on those are higher than almost everything else.”

Wilke suggested that retailers can use point-of-sale merchandising to call attention to the unique features of their specialty coffees such as organic, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certifications.

“When retailers make it easy for consumers to pair their beverage with fresh baked goods or new ways to customize their beverage, they create a memorable coffee-drinking experience for your customers,” he said.

In order to help c-stores provide memorable coffee experiences for their customers, Core-Mark has partnered with one of the most reputable, quality-driven coffee roasters in America to offer a turn-key solution: Arcadia Bay Select. This program offers what consumers are looking for—quality, variety and value.

“We pay particular attention to have consistent roast levels and create blends that include third-party certifications like USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified,” said Scott, of Core-Mark.

“Our customer data shows that stores that have replaced their previous coffee programs with the Arcadia Bay Select branded program have seen a 63% increase in their coffee sales,” said Scott. “There is no magic in this, it is just about being on trend, and selling a cup of coffee that today’s coffee customers want to buy.”

This post is sponsored by Core-Mark