Consumers that shop at convenience stores have needs that vary based on where they are shopping. General Mills recently conducted a survey of 3,198 convenience store food and beverage shoppers, age 18-64 to learn more about the usage and wants of urban, suburban, and rural convenience store customers.
The study found that c-store shoppers aren't tied to just one type of location. In fact, they are visiting three different types of c-stores per month on average.
- 72% of c-store shoppers visit c-stores in the suburbs
- 68% of c-store shoppers visit c-stores in urban residential areas with single family homes
- 53% of c-store shoppers visit c-stores in urban business districts
- 52% of c-store shoppers visit c-stores in urban residential areas with apartment or small town (rural) c-stores
A consumer's expectations for a c-store trip also varied on location:
- Suburban: All day stop for quick, small items
- Rural: While on-the-go and refueling stop
- Urban Residential (Single Family Homes): Quick stop when out and about for fun and basics
- Urban Business: Routine stop for easy meals and snacks during the workday
- Urban Residential (Apartments): Pit stop while on-the-go for essentials and entertainment
The survey also revealed must-have items based on location:
- Suburban: Gas, Cigarettes, Hot and Cold Beverages
- Rural: Gas, Cold Beverages, Cigarettes, Lottery Tickets, Small Snacks
- Urban Residential (Single Family Homes): Gas, Cold Beverages, Cigarettes, Lottery Tickets, Candy/Gum
- Urban Business: Cold Beverages, Small Snacks, Gas, Breakfast Food/Bev
- Urban Residential (Apartments): Gas, Cold Beverages, Alcohol, Breakfast Staples
And as far as what each location MUST deliver on:
- Suburban: Speed of Checkout, Easy Access to Store, Safety, Deals/Promotions
- Rural: Clean Restrooms, Vices, Quality/Affordable Gas
- Urban Residential (Single Family Homes): Speed of Checkout, Parking, Wide Selection of Lunch Items/Beverages
- Urban Business: Quality Hot Foods/Baked Items, Custom-Prepared Foods, Coffee, Lunch/Breakfast Options
- Urban Residential (Apartments): Healthy Options, Variety of Beverages, Quality of Baked Goods/Breakfast, One-Stop-Shop for Video Rentals
Many c-store locations are similar in the items they carry but they should focus on their location in order to drive profit and customer satisfaction.
General Mills offers these tips by c-store location:
- Suburban & Urban Residential: Focus on speedy service in an accessible environment.
- Rural: Drive consumers in-store with snack and beverage deals.
- Urban Business: Increase variety and customization of foodservice.
- Urban Residential: Prioritize healthier food and beverage offerings and services like video rentals.
You can view the survey results here.