Over the last decade, c-stores have evolved into more than just a quick stopover to purchase lottery tickets, drinks or fuel. In fact, they’ve become one of the largest and fastest growing business sectors in the world.
In a recent report by Research and Markets, the worldwide c-store business is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of about 11% during 2011-2014, to an astounding $857 billion. In the US alone, c-stores represent close to 35% of all retail outlets – outpacing drugstores, supermarkets and dollar stores combined.
Often referred to as “neighborhood stores” because of their saturation in most neighborhoods across the United States, our society has fallen in love with the overall convenience, late night accessibility and low-cost options provided by c-stores throughout the country.
And with increased demand from a wide range of demographics, some c-stores have responded by beginning to offer premium and unexpected items such as specialty coffees, healthy and complete meal options and even freshly delivered fruit to satisfy the cravings of the newest groups of customers.
But as the bar for the original c-store concept – which often placed little value on store appearance or the customer experience – keeps being raised, c-store owners are realizing that in order to stand out in this increasingly crowded business sector, they need to start taking a look at how their stores, and their offerings, are perceived.
Differentiation is becoming more challenging across the c-store industry, which makes positioning invaluable. Because repeat and prospective customers now demand and expect a clean, welcoming environment, as well as competitive pricing, and friendly service – all in an atmosphere that’s updated and appealing to their senses – c-stores owners are starting to ask themselves important questions:
- Does my environment appear fresh and modern in the eyes of an ever evolving and increasingly critical customer base?
- Am I conveying my competitive prices accurately?
- Am I correctly projecting the quality of my offerings, while keeping a focus on convenience and friendly service?
It’s no longer just acceptable for c-stores to provide a product or service –it’s HOW c-stores provide it.
With full construction renovations a costly and timely proposition, especially in an economy still struggling to rebound after years of decline, c-store owners are leery to invest, leaving them looking for a solution to successfully implement a new design without the expense and downtime of construction.
Tré Musco, the chief creative officer at San Francisco-based brand strategy and design agency Tesser, explains, “What you want to avoid is actually ever becoming dated. You want to just stay one step ahead of the curve so that you’re always fresh.”
But redefining your look, and your customers’ perceptions, does not have to be intimidating or seem unattainable.
Today custom makeover systems provide c-stores with fresh cosmetic updates, designed to help retain your loyal customers and attract new customers, while increasing relevance in the marketplace.
These custom makeover systems eliminate the need for costly construction by keeping the transformation completely cosmetic in nature – changing out Station ID’s, category signage, menu boards, custom wall graphics and outdoor signage. This enables you to save time and money without experiencing downtime associated with your most valued asset – your customer.