New Convenience Stores Push Grungy Standalones

With the new brick and mortar and digital competition, stores can no longer afford to be out of date and outdated.

The number of grocery stores in the United States is increasing National Grocers Association (NACS) noted this week in the 2023 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Report. The country’s more than 150,000 outlets are reporting a 1.5% increase over last year, which is particularly remarkable given that it follows four years of declines.

Many of these new stores are more upscale places next to a gas station that offer more than snacks and drinks. For example, Getty Realty announced last week it invested $44 million in nine store acquisitions through 2022. 7-Eleven modernizes its stores with omnichannel convenience, creates its own stores on-demand delivery infrastructure With 7NOW delivery app and 7NOW Gold Pass free delivery subscription.

In addition, stores are now digitally competing with local players, e.g online only convenience centers from restaurants and e-commerce brands brick-air branches whom Foxtrot Market, provides an elegant, premium in-store experience. As a result, consumers are beginning to expect more from their stores – choice, convenience and digital connectivity.

Research from a recent study by PYMNTS “Instant Payments Transformation Guide: Food, Pharmaceutical and Convenience Retailers,” created in cooperation with ACI Worldwide, a survey of 300 US and UK retailers found that 77% of merchants, including convenience retailers, see digital rewards and coupons as key to in-store customer loyalty. Moreover, 81% feel the same about access to mobile apps.

“Modern convenience stores and pharmacies may compete more closely with each other and with online services,” the study notes. “As the influx of independent, mobile-only online pharmacies and convenience services intensifies competition, the smartest grocers and pharmacies are increasing connectivity through features that reward consumers for shopping and remove friction from transactions.

Indeed, digital enhancements can go a long way. last month, Casey’s General Storesthe nation’s third-largest convenience retailer with nearly 2,500 stores announced the strength of its rewards program in a call with analysts.

“We added more than 400,000 members in the quarter to October 31, reaching 5.8 million reward members as our team continues to create value for reward guests” CEO Darren Rebelez he said. “This resulted in our award participation rate reaching 37.8%, an increase of 600 basis points from the second quarter of the prior year.”

Earlier, Casey shared with PYMNTS that the industry has some skills when it comes to loyalty programs compared to competing sectors.

“The c-store loyalty space is generally new in the industry, and the ones that tell you, ‘Well, we’ve had it for a while,’ are kind of nascent.” Art Sebastiansaid Casey’s vice president of omnichannel marketing interview. “The thing is, there are coupons and some new ways to save. So I think it’s still kind of new. But what I would challenge the industry to do is think about how to … make sure you’re doing something different to make your program stand out.”

PYMNTS Information: Why Consumers Are Trying Digital Wallets

The PYMNTS study, New Payment Options: Why Consumers Are Using a Digital Wallet, shows that 52% of US consumers will have tried a new payment method in 2022, with many choosing to try digital wallets for the first time.

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