In general, women buy from C-Stores less than men do. They also make more gas-only C-Store trips than men do. According to a presentation at this year's NACS, women have higher expectations for the convenience store experience. They look at things such as cleanliness, safety, parking, service, and restrooms. In fact, besides having a convenient location, the next item consumers look at is how clean your store is.
So, how do you appeal to women with higher standards?
General Mills found that women are more likely to buy sweets but are also more likely to want better-for-you items. Research found that women buy treats, beer/wine, lottery, and cigarettes to satisfy cravings and as a treat/reward mostly in the afternoon.
Messaging: "You Deserve It!"
Specials: In the afternoon
Cross-Promotion: Across treat categories or strategic non-food categories
We already told you that women want better-for-you items, but how do they define what is better for someone? They want the words fresh, baked not fried, less processed, heart healthy, and reduced/low/no fat.They also like to see that it's made with whole grains, not as bad as other foods, reduced/low/no sugar or calories, and high in fiber. However, women recorded that taste was more important to them than something being healthy.
Messaging: Lead with taste and then how it's better for you
Assortment: Mainstream - low fat, protein, whole grain
Cross- Promotion: Build baskets with better-for-you bundles
"56% of moms take their kids on quick trips on a regular basis (every time or usually) to get groceries."
Foodservice: Smaller portions, take inspiration from quick serve restaurants
Assortment: Nutritious, kid-friendly options
Store: Clean, friendly atmosphere
Deals and Prices
Everyone wants lower prices. The most important price is a low gas price. It is also important to offer coupons and deals. 2/3 of women still do at least 75% of their household's grocery shopping.
Value: Emphasize quality and value, not just price
Deals: Better-for-you and treats, female-targeted messages
Signage: Pump signage appeal to females
As we stated before, having a convenient location is critical and is the number one driver of traffic for both men and women. Aside from that, women want a clean store and restroom with uncluttered aisles. They also find importance in feeling safe at your store. There should be a lot of parking available as well as access from the street. You should offer fast service from friendly employees. Try minimizing the "guy vibe" to attract more women.
Layout: Lighting, parking, wide aisles
It is very important that your food isn't expired or damaged. Your food shouldn't be soggy, stale, or dried out. If it looks like it has been sitting out for a long time, no one is going to buy it. Your packaging shouldn't be damaged or dusty.
Marketing: Appetizing food photography
Presentation: Show the theater of food prep
Customization: Allow finishing with fresh ingredients
The bottom line is that if you are looking to broaden your customer base, women are one segment you should target. They are a missed opportunity for your store. Appeal to women's higher expectations and you will find your store attracting more of them. Once you bring them in, keep them coming back with a C-Store loyalty program. Apply all of these new ideas to your loyalty program for a well-rounded C-Store marketing plan.
Download our Ultimate C-Store Guide to Loyalty for tips on retaining new customers with convenience store loyalty programs.