Welcome to the C-Store of the Future

The latest trends, disruptors and innovators in convenience
Photograph: Shutterstock

CHICAGO -- Welcome to the C-Store of the Future, CSP's newest e-newsletter.

Here at CSP, we’re always trying to prepare our readers for how convenience will transform next. In this new e-newsletter, you’ll find a rundown of the latest innovations in convenience, whether it's a mobile app, on the forecourt or in store design.

Technology is changing faster than ever, along with consumer sentiment. People are driving less, smoking less and even though consumers may not eat as healthy as they claim to, they increasingly want clean, fresh food optionsbetween their indulgent binges.

Despite challenges from e-commerce, regulations and consumer habits (what they eat, how they travel, where they get their nicotine fix, etc.), convenience stores have managed to stay agile and keep up with changing demands. NACS recently reported that both fuel and in-store industry sales increased in 2018. Even so, the past decade has seen a complete transformation in the way people shop, find transportation and access information, and the march of innovation shows no sign of slowing down. Online shopping is growing, ride-hailing continues to dominate legacy taxi services and Google has become so entrenched in our lives that we can talk to it.

One theme you might notice in this issue is terrestrial drones, also known as self-driving delivery bots. Back in September 2018, CSP ran a story about robots in which Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus, expressed confidence in the proliferation of terrestrial drones. “It’s going to be easy out of the gate, cheap to operate, and it’s going to require a really rudimentary level of intelligence for it to function,” he said.

Fast forward just a few months, and terrestrial drone tests are launching across the country, from Postmates to Kroger and beyond. Aside from being cute, autonomous delivery vehicles represent a threat to c-store traffic. After all, if you have the choice of walking to the store or summoning a rolling cooler to bring your snacks to you, why even put on your shoes?

Unfortunately, we don’t have an all-seeing crystal ball to show us what the future holds. The best we can do is report on what’s happening around us today and offer projects in hopes that it will reveal what’s in store for tomorrow.

Welcome to the future … your future!

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