Technology/Services

How Wawa’s Retail Media Network Is Poised for Success

Placer.ai report says rising popularity of convenience stores opens up opportunities in retail advertising space
Wawa retail media network
Image/Wawa

Convenience stores are emerging as destinations in and of themselves, and their rising popularity opens up significant opportunities in the retail advertising space, according to a new report from Placer.ai. Placer.ai’s latest whitepaper examined newcomers in the retail media space, including c-store chain Wawa, which launched its retail media network Goose Media Network in February.

There are some key advantages that Wawa brings to the retail media table, Placer.ai said.

Wawa is a relative newcomer to the world of retail media, as other c-store chains like 7-Eleven and Casey’s already have networks. But despite being late to the game, the potential for Goose Media Network is significant, Placer.ai said, due to its highly loyal visitors who enjoy shopping in its brick-and-mortar stores.

Wawa has a wide reach and diverse customer base. In first-quarter 2024, year-over-year visits to Wawa increased 7.5%, the report said. The average length of visits to Wawa’s physical stores in that same quarter was 11.4 minutes. That’s compared to just 4.6 minutes on Wawa’s website, Placer.ai said.

  • Wawa is No. 9 on CSP’s 2024 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by total number of company-owned stores.

“These longer in-store dwell times can be harnessed to maximize ad exposure and offer partners more extended opportunities for meaningful interactions with customers,” according to Placer.ai. “Partners can also analyze the behavior and preferences of the two chains’ growing visitor bases to craft targeted online campaigns.”

When comparing Wawa to other c-stores, Wawa’s share of loyal visitors, or those who visited the chain at least twice a month, was 60.1% in May 2024, Placer.ai said. That’s compared to QuikTrip (56%) and 7-Eleven (49.7%) for the same period, the report said.

“Wawa's loyal customer base and longer visit durations make it a strong contender in the retail media space. By harnessing this high level of customer engagement, Wawa can draw in advertisers and develop targeted marketing strategies that resonate with its dedicated shoppers,” Placer.ai said.

Santa Cruz, California-based Placer.ai leverages de-identified location data from a panel of tens of millions of mobile devices, upon which the company leverages industry-leading AI and machine learning capabilities to make estimations about overall visits to any location. 

Wawa is also growing its store count, with plans to open 70 new c-stores just in 2024. The Wawa, Pennsylvania-based retailer had 1,040 stores as of Jan. 1, 2024. The chain has grown significantly in Florida, with 167 Florida stores in January 2019 and 280 stores by April 2024, Placer.ai said.

“A look at changes in Wawa’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale trade area shows that the chain’s growing visit share has been driven by an expanding market and an increasingly diverse audience,” Placer.ai said.

Wawa’s brick-and-mortar visit growth, high loyalty rates, understanding of local nuances and focused expansion all make it well-positioned to make the most of its retail media network.

For those looking to learn more about retail media networks, CSP is launching its Retail Media Network Forum, an event focused on exploring the potential of retail media networks in the convenience-store sector. The forum will be held at the Renaissance Schaumburg, in Schaumburg, Illinois, Oct. 27-28, just ahead of CSP’s C-StoreTEC.

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