Single Store Owner

APR 2016

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24 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / APRIL 2016 N o matter where they are located in the nation, most U.S. convenience stores have a variety of customer types they can market to — busy millennials looking for a meal on the go, blue-collar men who just want cokes and smokes, or those who impulse buy while stopping for gas. Single-store owners, however, can get more value out of identifying and understanding their most de- voted customers than by trying to appeal equally to everyone, according to exclusive consumer research on the demographics and shopping behavior of c-store customers conducted by Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner and sister publica- tion Convenience Store News. "Core" customers are those who make frequent visits to c-stores on a daily or weekly basis and those who indicate they buy in-store items "every time" or "almost every time" after purchasing gas at a c-store. Not only do these shoppers spend more in an aver- age trip, but they also do so habitually, making it vital that single-store owners know what they want and deliver. Who Are They? Men typically visit c-stores and buy in-store merchandise more often than women, although both genders can be core shoppers. C-stores in all areas of the country have an equal opportu- nity to capitalize on these core customers, too, as region makes little difference, although the South is slightly more likely to have daily/weekly c-store shoppers and the West slightly less likely. When it comes to age, consumers aged 35-44 are significantly more likely to be daily or weekly c-store shoppers, and those aged 25-34 are sig- nificantly more likely to buy in-store merchandise after purchasing gas. Older customers, aged 55 and up, are significantly less likely to make daily or weekly c-store visits, or to stop in for a post-gas merchandise purchase. Whether their shopping trips are to get a take- home meal for the family or to indulge the kids with a special treat, parents have great potential to be core shoppers. Fifty-seven percent of consumers with at least one child under the age of 18 in the household report visiting c-stores on a daily basis, while 42.9 percent visit on a weekly basis. Consumers without children are notably less likely to make such frequent visits. Parents are similarly much more likely to regularly buy in-store merchandise, as 58 percent do so during most or all gas fill-ups, while only 42 percent of consumers without children in the house say the same. Income also has an effect. Wealthy consumers who make $100,000 or more per year are signifi- cantly less likely to be both frequent shoppers and in-store purchasers with gas, which is something to consider when stocking higher-priced products such as craft beer or wine. Cultivating Loyalty The good news for single-store operators is that familiar faces matter. Customers who make the most visits to c-stores are also among the most loyal to a particular store, with 70.5 percent of daily shoppers saying they typically shop at the same store each time, as do 62.8 percent of weekly shoppers. In comparison, only 56 percent of customers who visit less regularly stick to the same store. Those who make the most in-store Single-store owners can find success by connecting with those consumers who make c-store visits part of their routine Know Your Core, Protect Your Core By AngeLA HAnSon Cover Story

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