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Why Innovation Is More Important Than Ever in Convenience Stores

Convenience stores are known for, well, their convenience. They’re the perfect place for filling up the gas tank and grabbing a quick bite to eat. But a growing number of c-stores are revamping everything from foodservice to retail to products on the forecourt in an effort to not only remain relevant in an increasingly competitive landscape but also change the overall experience of going to a convenience store.

Foodservice gets a facelift

The baseline for foodservice programs, according to Jacquelyn Moskalik, director for fresh & food service at Core-Mark, should include hot food options that cater to different dayparts. Upgraded foodservice programs should have fresh and full displays with appropriate signage to highlight attributes of the products, as well as other upgrades such as seasonal offerings, plant-based proteins and clean-label products. It’s important not to lose sight of who a store’s customers are and what they’re looking for.

Moskalik said, “When upgrading your foodservice offerings, it’s important to identify who your current and target customers are for your store. Innovation and staying on trend is key in foodservice growth and marketing those upgrades is a necessity.”

Overhauling other areas

Other areas of store operation that are seeing updates are store design (to be more intuitive/encouraging of purchases) and technology, including frictionless payment systems that speed up the process of purchasing. By making the experience more enjoyable for customers, c-stores can make their location a desirable place to stop—an important factor in a saturated market.

The importance of innovation

In an era in which both restaurants and other retail outlets are kicking things up a notch, it’s increasingly imperative for c-stores to continue innovating to remain relevant and competitive. Finding the right mix of products, foodservice offerings and other conveniences and technologies—including frictionless payment and more—is key to staying up to date in the current retail landscape. But as any busy c-store retailer can confirm, it can be difficult to know how to do just that without having some help. That’s where Core-Mark comes in.

Inspiration and support

In response to the growing and changing needs of c-stores, Core-Mark is proud to introduce its Center of Excellence, which will feature five hubs to deliver an immersive experience and allow retailers and vendors to gain real-time insights on trends and other areas of opportunity. The facility will enable retailers to learn more about new ideas and products, as well as other solutions that can help grow their businesses. The five hubs are:

  • A Collaboration Hub, where retailers can learn more about business goals, joint strategies and data analytics & technology platforms
  • A Culinary Test Kitchen, where existing and innovative menu items can be crafted and new equipment can be tested.
  • A Modern Retail Experience, where trending products and payment systems will be showcased.
  • A Data & Insights Center, where a virtual product placement and store layout tool helps facilitate visualization of data-based design to create an optimal shopping experience.
  • A People Training Facility, where retailers can share insights, train sales teams and learn from thought leaders.

“We have created an environment that combines forward-thinking consumer trends with real-time data so we can align our customers and inform the future of convenience today,” said Chris Murray, Core-Mark’s senior vice president of marketing.

The Center of Excellence is scheduled to open in early 2020 in Westlake, Texas.

This post is sponsored by Core-Mark

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