The quick and convenient features that are the staple of today’s convenience stores make them a perfect place for consumers to shop when they need only one or two items between grocery store trips. However, many Americans do not choose convenience stores for this kind of shopping. In order to identify the reasons c-stores are not reaping this business, General Mills Convenience & Foodservice conducted a survey of shoppers’ attitudes and needs for these types of quick trips.
The study surveyed 3,198 convenience store food and beverage shoppers, ages 18-64, nationwide, via an online survey, in November 2014.
Some of the study’s key findings include:
- C-stores are known for immediate-consumption foods and beverages, but they also serve another need. They can be the perfect destination for a fill-in trip, the trip in between stock-up grocery trips when just a few items are needed.
- 32% of shoppers visit grocery stores most often for fill-in trips.
- 19% of shoppers visit convenience stores most often for fill-in trips.
- 11% of shoppers visit mass merchants or super centers most often for fill-in trips.
- Grocery staples are the most common items purchased on fill-in trips. These items are often a part of shoppers’ everyday routines and thus cannot wait until the next stock up trip to be purchased.
- The most popular items purchased on fill-in trips, in all channels, include: milk (purchased on 57% of all fill-in trips), bread (50%), soda (42%), eggs (39%) and salty snacks (28%).
- 76% of shoppers want full sized offerings vs. smaller package sizes
- C-store shoppers are less satisfied with c-store fill-in shopping trips than c-store immediate consumption trips (21 point gap):
- 57% of shoppers are extremely satisfied with immediate consumption trips.
- 36% of shoppers are extremely satisfied with fill-in trips
- When we asked shoppers for feedback on why they weren’t choosing c-stores, the top barriers centered around lack of variety, low quality and prices being too expensive.
“Convenience stores are more convenient than many of their competitors, like grocery stores or mass merchants, for quick, fill-in trips,” said Lindsey Shepherd, consumer insights researcher at General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. “To help c-store retailers make their store a destination for fill-in trips and increase satisfaction among shoppers, we have developed a helpful framework, ‘F.I.L.L.,’ with tips for them to capture the fill-in shopper.”
F.I.L.L.: How to Capture the Fill-in Shopper at C-stores
- F: Full-Sized Staples: Offer full-sized grocery items where it counts – milk, bread, soda, eggs and salty snacks.
- I: In & Out: Continue delivering on convenience; shoppers choose c-stores because they can get in and out in less than 2 minutes.
- L: Lift Quality: Focus on quality, especially on perishable grocery items like cheese and fresh produce.
- L: Lower Prices: Offer value with competitively-priced staple items.