CHICAGO — Some convenience-store retailers are attempting to return to pre-pandemic sales levels by embracing technology. Simultaneously, digital retail companies are starting to look more like c-stores.
According to a recent report from San Francisco-based data firm Skupos, industrywide monthly in-store revenue was up 11% and 13% year-over-year in May and June, respectively, which indicates that business turned away by the pandemic has returned. But with that return in business comes more cross-channel competition.
Click through for five examples of convenience retail’s channel-blurring future …
DoorDash is launching DashMart, “a new type of convenience store” offering delivery of household essentials and local restaurant food. DashMart’s digital “stores” are owned, operated and curated by app-based restaurant delivery company DoorDash.
The delivery system appears to function similarly to convenience delivery service goPuff. The platform promises delivery in 30 minutes or less and marks another example of a digital firm stepping into convenience territory.
As part of its strategy to adapt to the retail realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wawa Inc. plans to build a 1,850-square-foot, freestanding, drive-thru-only convenience store in Falls Township, Pa., it has announced.
This model is solely focused on drive-thru and curbside pickup service where customers can use technology to quickly order Wawa’s most popular food and beverages, including value meals, combo meals, coffee and specialty beverages.
Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa aims to begin construction in late August 2020 with a targeted opening date of December 2020. The location will provide employment opportunities to 25 people, including four full-time positions.
RaceTrac Petroleum president Natalie Morhous recently revealed that RaceTrac plans to “lean more deeply into drive-thrus” in order to give customers a socially distanced way to shop for in-store items.
Morhous spoke with CSP’s Mitch Morrison, vice president of retailer relations, in a Talks From the Top conversation for the new Outlook Leadership Community.
- Check out CSP’s Outlook Leadership Community.
The Atlanta-based company—which has more than 500 RaceTrac stores in the South and recently entered the Nashville, Tenn. market—had one drive-thru location that opened in September. The sales there have steadily increased throughout the pandemic, Morhous said. RaceTrac is No. 15 on CSP’s 2020 Top 202 ranking of convenience-store chains by number of retail outlets.
A short video on Instagram illustrates the new direction c-store innovation is taking. In it, a customer wearing a facemask places a can of Red Bull on a small checkout counter. The product is automatically scanned by the POS and the customer holds his smartphone to a card reader to pay. After the screen adjusts to notify him that the purchase was accepted, the customer picks up the Red Bull and leaves, having paid for the item without touching anything but the product and his smartphone.
The video from Mashgin, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based contactless checkout tech company, demonstrates touchless checkout technology currently in test in Brentwood, Tenn.-based Delek USA’s new DK c-store units.
7-Eleven Hawai’i Inc. has partnered with Hakuyosha International, Inc., also known as Hakuyosha Clean Living, to offer contact-free dry cleaning and laundry pickup and delivery services at select 7-Eleven convenience stores in Hawaii. The retailer has introduced the new service at two stores, with plans to expand, it said.
- 7-Eleven Inc. is No. 1 on CSP’s 2020 Top 202 ranking of c-store chains by size. 7-Eleven Hawai’i is No. 101.
With the locker-based service, customers can drop off and pick up their dry cleaning and laundry anytime. The service returns a free personal laundry bag with the first order.