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The Importance of Cleanliness

December 11, 2017

By: Melissa Molnar, Digital Marketing Specialist

Did you know that litter is the most highly cited reason why people don’t want to shop at a convenience store? First impressions are important, and having a clean exterior and interior matters. Harbor offers solutions to keep your store neat, including cleaning supplies, trash bins, liners and restroom supplies.

Customers stopping in your store will most likely be using the Restroom. This is one of the most important places to keep clean in your store. According to NACS, more than 2/3 of consumers said they were likely to use the bathroom in a convenience store over their seasonal travels. Most people use a restroom before making a purchase, and that first impression of restroom cleanliness will determine whether that purchase will be made. If a customer uses a dirty restroom, they may assume the rest of the store is not clean too. If you are looking to improve your restroom cleanliness, Harbor carries restroom and cleaning supplies.

Another important location to keep clean is the front counter. This is where customers break out their wallets to spend money. Keep the front counter attractive and litter free. Store a cleaner behind the counter to wipe down the check-out area every now and then. Not only will this cut down on germs, it will also keep the counter spotless. Harbor can help you find the cleaning products and tools to impress even the most finicky customers.

Are you finding litter outside of your store? Consider where customers park their cars around your location, and move trash bins to these spots. Customers may not walk an extra few steps to find a trash bin, but if you place that trash bin right by where they are already parked, they are more likely to properly dispose of their garbage. Harbor also has trash bins that you can order to keep your outside area spotless.

Overall, cleanliness matters. A clean store is a happy store, and means happy customers. Proper trash receptacles, clean restrooms and a nice front counter will help to keep your store neat a tidy, and will bring more customers into your store to spend more money.

 

Turning Around the Slide in C-Store Traffic

November 6, 2017

A new report from the Coca-Cola Co. aims to help convenience-store retailers bring more customers into their stores.

Noting that c-store traffic declined 2.4% during the first half of 2017, the report looks at what’s behind the slowdown and how retailers can bring more shoppers into their stores.

“Providing actionable insights to retail customers is an important part of our Coca-Cola Commitment to be our customers’ best business partner,” Susan Gambardella, vice president of convenience retail with the Coca-Cola Co., told CSP Daily News. “This commitment is particularly important amidst the challenges of today’s convenience retail environment.”

Here’s a look at the results …

The report looked at data from several of Coca-Cola Co.’s own consumer surveys, as well as data from Youbrandinc.com, Merrill Lynch, the Hartman Group, Simmons, Kantar and other sources.

It concluded that 65% of customers who don’t venture from the fuel pump into the c-store “don’t need anything when pumping gas,” while 29% don’t have time and 16% question the value of the products inside the c-store.

“As more retailers across channels push for more convenience, the traditional convenience-retail channel is losing its claim on convenience, which used to be able to better justify higher prices for goods,” Gambardella said. “So as shoppers have more options for convenience shopping, they are scrutinizing the prices more as well.”

To change consumer perceptions, Coca-Cola Co. suggests starting with millennials, the generation with the most buying power. Its global net income is expected to increase to $3.4 trillion in 2018, according to the report.

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Cintas Survey Shows Consumers’ Hand Drying Preferences

August 11, 2017

Paper towels appeal to more Americans.

Do Americans prefer to use paper towels or air dryers when drying their hands in public restrooms?

Cintas Corp. recently commissioned a survey conducted online by Harris Poll to determine just that. The survey was conducted May 19-23, and polled 2,048 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

The study found that the majority of American’s (69%) prefer to use paper towels over air dryers when drying their hands in public restrooms.

“Hand drying plays an important role in effective hand hygiene,” said John Engel, director of marketing, Cintas. “Studies show that germs can be more easily transferred to and from wet hands, which is why drying hands after washing them is essential to staving off bacteria and limiting the spread of infection.”

Of those that chose paper towels as their preferred method to dry their hands in a public restroom, the top five reasons include:

Paper towels dry hands better                                                            70%

Paper towels dry hands faster                                                             69%

Paper towels provide something to open the restroom door with     52%

Air dryers blow bacteria (e.g., on hands, in the air)                           24%

Air dryers are too loud                                                                       22%

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Fill Up, Fuel Up and Empty the Trash

May 26, 2017

Convenience retailers spend about $600 per store per month for recycling and trash collection programs, or about $1.2 billion industry-wide on an annual basis.   

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Seven in 10 American drivers (70%) say they dispose of trash from their cars while refueling, according to the results of a national consumer study by NACS on attitudes related to trash. And convenience and fuel retailers concur: 56% say that most trash in their trash cans at the fueling island is not generated from the store.

In early April, NACS conducted consumer and retailer surveys to gauge consumer and retailer perceptions about litter and trash leading up to Earth Day on April 22. Retailers say they spend more than $600 per store per month for recycling and trash collection programs, or about $1.3 billion industry-wide on an annual basis. The payoff is worth the expense, as convenience stores continue to grow their foodservice sales, which climbed 12.9% to $49 billion in 2016. The convenience store industry is also working with Keep America Beautiful to provide guidance to its members on best practices for recycling and trash management.

Consumers overwhelmingly say that store appearance is important when considering where to make a purchase: 84% of consumers fueling up say cleanliness of the store is an important factor when considering whether they go inside the store to make a purchase. Litter is also among the most highly cited reasons why people don’t want a convenience store in their community. (Read more on this topic in the February NACS Magazine cover story, “Don’t Be Trashy.”)

And more than 9 in 10 (92%) say that the convenience store they visit the most often tends to be clean, compared to the 85% who say that convenience stores in general tend to be clean.

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Filling In With Frozen

December 19, 2016

As just-in-time shopping increases, consumers are spreading their dinner dollars across more channels and retailers

A typical grocery store has a lot of square footage devoted to frozen food—space that isn’t as readily available in c-stores. But don’t write off­ frozen completely.

“We are seeing a lot more just-in-time shopping, and this is causing shoppers to spread their dollars across more channels and retailers,” says Susan Viamari, vice president of thought leadership for Chicago-based IRI.

Specifically, 19% of shoppers use c-stores most often for fill-in trips, according to a November 2014 General Mills Convenience & Foodservice survey. Think of the customer who comes in for a c-store staple such as a Red Bull or even a gallon of milk and grabs a frozen pizza at the same time.

In fact, pizza is one of the top five categories in frozen, with dollar sales increasing 7.6% in multioutlet channels (gas/c-stores, supermarkets, drug stores, mass market, military commissaries and select club and dollar chains) during the 52 weeks ending Oct. 2, 2016, according to IRI.

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Displaying the Wares

July 18, 2016

Convenience retailers are optimizing space by creating distinctive displays that draw customers into the store and maximize incremental and impulse sales.

By Lisa White, Contributing Editor

Although it may seem unconventional for a convenience store to take floor space away from a traditional gondola area, shifting the focus to higher-margin foodservice items turned out to be the right choice for Tennessee-based Git ‘N Go Market Stores.

The retailer recently remodeled its four Tennessee stores, creating space in high-traffic areas for foodservice items and fountain beverages. “We repositioned the grab-and-go area by the front door to better highlight our fresh food offerings,” said William Baine, CEO of Git ‘N Go. “The results have been positive.”

Convenience retailers are enhancing in-store displays and updating planograms to better take advantage of rising in-store sales opportunities. At the recent National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) State of the Industry Summit, studies showed that inside sales in convenience stores grew 5.8% in 2015 to $226 billion, representing close to 40% of total convenience store sales. This was up from 29% in 2013.

Foodservice remains one of the most profitable categories in this segment, with 56% average margins. Data presented at the NACS State of the Industry Summit is preliminary and derived from company submissions as of March 31.

Read the full article.

How to Design for Efficiency

January 22, 2015

From aesthetics to flow, store design can make or break your customers’ shopping experience.

By Brad Perkins, Contributing Editor

Aesthetics. Interior design. Customer flow. Those terms aren’t necessarily the first thoughts that come to mind when discussing convenience stores. But, increasingly, these are items that c-stores are considering when designing new stores.

Whether it’s helping customers get in and out quickly, displaying products or conserving energy and costs, convenience stores must make choices that benefit the bottom line while making stores into desirable destinations for customers.

OBECTIVE DESIGN
At Hub Convenience Stores, a North Dakota-based chain that opened its first stores last year, the design of new stores went hand-in-hand with the company’s objectives.

“When it came time to address the interior design of our new convenience concept I felt it was important to accomplish two main objectives,” said Jared Scheeler, president of Hub Convenience Stores. “I wanted our customers to walk in the door the first time and say ‘Wow’; and I wanted the design and the identity it gave us to reflect the quality of our business.”

Scheeler’s vision combined a desire to provide quality, branded food with the desire to create flexible designs tailored to each location’s needs.

“As an establishment that puts a great focus on foodservice, it’s critical that the image of the company and of the building reflects the quality that we want perceived in our food,” he said. “This includes the interior design and branding of the building, the equipment used to serve the food and the merchandising used to help sell the food.”

Designing for customers is important. Whether it’s ensuring a positive experience at the pump or register or building out a store layout that combines safety for the store and employees and efficient customer flow, considering the way customers walk through the store and how easily they can find merchandise is a key objective.

It’s not enough, Scheeler said, to “choose an upscale paint color, a casework laminate, and a countertop and call it a ‘design’.” Instead, c-stores should mull aesthetics: how the store looks and feels to customers. For Scheeler, that meant hiring a design firm to create plans from his ideas.

“Because this was such an important element of our new business, we felt that we’d best be served by hiring someone who specializes in these areas,” Scheeler said. “We chose Paragon Solutions and its designers were able to quickly bring all of my vague ideas to life. I wanted our stores to have an identity and that’s exactly what they gave us.”

In addition to brand identity, many convenience stores consider the environment and energy costs when designing or redesigning.

“We want to be good neighbors and corporate citizens, so we try to look at our new builds and rebuilds holistically—how can we impact each location as little as possible from an environmental standpoint,” said Sara Kurovski, manager of sustainability for Kum & Go. “There are always new opportunities for continuous improvement, with ever changing technology and opportunities.”

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