Convenience Store News

NOV 2016

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WWW.CSNEWS.COM | Guide to Foodservice 7 retailers' assessment of the viability of those offer- ings. They found that while consumers preferred such potential offerings as a 24-hour, secure product dispensing unit outside the store, drive-thru windows and loyalty programs, retailers tended to balk at ideas they felt were too difficult or costly to execute. Etzkin pointed out that six in 10 consumers surveyed said they haven't seen anything new at a convenience store in the past year. At the same time, eight in 10 con- sumers said they would visit c-stores more often if they featured new and innovative offerings. "To be an innovator, you need to disrupt a cat- egory," said Etzkin. "You must change the competi- tive landscape." Weighing more than a dozen ideas from each side (retailers and consumers), the research appeared to highlight three ideas that resonated with both groups. A H2O Flavored Water Station was preferred by consum- ers because it allowed new customization, while retail- ers viewed the innovation as a "quick win" that is easy to execute and would have high impact on the store. Retailers agreed that two other ideas — a Create Your Own Burrito Bar and Loyalty Programs — are also highly impactful and worth the effort, even if they would be harder to execute. Other ideas that garnered high mutual interest from both consumers and retailers were salad bars, yogurt bars, a craft beer and craft soda department, and a quick-chill beverage cooler. Consumers gave high marks to several other ideas that didn't resonate as highly with retailers. For example, a create-your-own doughnut bar and trav- eling c-store food trucks didn't quite strike a chord with retailers. "Develop ideas of what drives customer satisfac- tion, then use a disciplined, fact-based approach to minimize the risk of missteps and enhance the prob- ability of success," advised Mills. CSN "To be an innovator, you need to disrupt a category. You must change the competitive landscape." — Randi Etzkin, Carbonview Research

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