The Rise of Non-Fuel Convenience Stores

There are some notable changes taking place in the convenience store industry. Traditionally, c-stores have relied heavily on gasoline sales to drive in-store traffic. When customers came to fill up with gasoline, they would use the opportunity to also purchase food and drinks inside. Now, with hybrid and electric vehicles becoming more popular, consumers are forced to spend even more time inside a c-store. As a result, non-fuel convenience stores that offer prepared meals, fresh food options, and even health food services are becoming more common. 

There are several major reasons why this shift is taking place, and these trends will define modern convenience stores

Reasons for the Shift Away from Gasoline Sales

While gasoline has been a reliable revenue driver for decades, the reality is gas was never the leading profit maker for c-stores and the landscape is changing quickly. A shift in consumer behavior has played a role in this transition, as many consumers are more cognizant of the impact their vehicles have had on the environment. This has led to a dramatic rise in the number of electric and hybrid vehicles on the road. Hybrid vehicles do not need to fill up with gas nearly as often as their traditional counterparts, and electric vehicles do not need to fill up with gas at all.

As a result, fewer people are spending time filling up their vehicles, which means c-stores need to diversify their revenue streams and take advantage of the longer waits e-vehicle drivers will have. While gasoline has been a reliable driver in the past, it might not be as consistent or predictable during the next few years. 

The Rise of Non-Fuel Convenience Store Offerings

To continue to attract customers, c-stores need to diversify the products they offer to bring in more revenue. For example, many consumers are more cognizant of their health, so they are looking for fresh food options. Customers also value their time more than ever, and pre-prepared meals will also be popular. Along the lines of being more health-conscious, offering healthcare services could be another way for convenience stores to generate more revenue.

The biggest benefit this diversification has for c-stores is that they can drive revenue from other sources; however, this diversification provides benefits for consumers as well. Consumers may spend more time in the parking lot charging their vehicles, and with extra time on their hands, they may be able to knock out some additional errands at the store. 

Challenges and Opportunities of Non-Fuel Convenience Stores

This transition will come with some challenges. For example, convenience stores may have to deal with increased competition as they enter into different markets, and they may have a difficult time managing supply chain logistics. With more diverse inventory, convenience stores may have to diversify their suppliers, which may be a bit of a challenge.

On the other hand, this diversification demonstrates a commitment to customers, and patrons could reward convenience stores with increased loyalty. When implemented correctly, these changes can also drive revenue growth. 

Examples of Successful Non-Fuel Convenience Stores

Already, some convenience stores have successfully implemented transitions in their offerings. For example, QuikTrip, usually abbreviated QT, has expanded the food they offer to include breakfast scrambles, biscuits, and numerous other types of hot, fresh food. One of its biggest competitors, Sheetz, has done the same thing. With added fresh food options, customers can access more choices than ever, endearing them to patrons. Some of these stores even sell phone accessories, health aids, and wine. With a more diverse offering, c-stores can ensure they remain relevant even in an era of electric cars. 

Looking for helpful tips to keep your retail establishment on trend? Click below to download our Do's and Don'ts of Retail Design. 

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