In three short years, the convenience store industry has changed dramatically, and the changes will continue at a furious pace as the White House moves away from fossil fuels and pushes widespread acceptance of electric vehicles.
The c-store industry has always had a couple of built-in hooks in its arsenal to attract customers. Chief among them was gasoline. If you drove a car, you needed a convenience store a couple times a week. Tobacco was another big hook as c-stores owned the tobacco sales segment. Over the last two decades, foodservice became a primary factor in driving business. Coffee, sandwiches, chicken, sushi, pizza — you name it and there’s a convenience store in your market that sells it, and that has been good for business.
Electric vehicles, however, will change that for older stores without foodservice because EV owners will not require a trip to the pumps, therefore eliminating these shopping occasions. Plus, with third-party delivery becoming more widespread and the rise of Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash and all the other delivery services you see zipping around town, there is so much more competition for food sales. Customers have instant access to an entire market’s worth of diverse menus right in the palm of their hand; anything they want, with a few taps on their phone, can arrive in under an hour.
This growth is exciting. It can be extremely profitable, but it also requires adapting to a new generation of customers. This is why identifying and preparing next-generation leaders in your business is so important. When I am out in the field speaking with retailers, the first question I almost always get is, “How can I produce fantastic, solid, compassionate, next-generation leaders?”
The National Advisory Group’s (NAG) Young Executives Organization is focused exclusively on this very issue. YEO’s mission is to help train young talent in the convenience store and petroleum industry through education and networking. We will continue that mission Sept. 7-9 at the YEO Conference at Nouria Energy in Worcester, Mass.
The 2022 YEO Conference will feature educational sessions and workshops, a tour of the top convenience stores in the Boston market, Information Exchanges and outstanding networking opportunities with the industry’s future leaders.
Training next-generation leaders will determine whether or not you are ready to handle the future of retail. Carey Nieuwhof, a best-selling leadership author and host of the excellent Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast, speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change and personal growth. He emphasized the energy that young leaders bring to companies.
“They bring enthusiasm and optimism to their work,” Nieuwhof said. “They understand next-generation trends. Younger leaders see things differently. They grew in a culture that I didn’t. Having their voice around the table gives me a much better sense of what resonates and what doesn’t. If you want to connect with the emerging generation, having the emerging generation around your table is irreplaceable.”
This is a great takeaway for our industry. Who understands apps and how the younger generation orders food or gets around town more than the younger generation itself? Tapping into their world and leaning on them for insights will allow you to glean information you may never have realized.
Young leaders, Nieuwhof said, “challenge assumptions because they are trying to figure out how the world works. They ask great questions and question the way things are done. They haven’t made peace with the status quo. As a result, some of the best insights and solutions will come from next-generation leaders because they see things differently.”
Equally important is that young leaders are passionate about the mission. “They don’t want their job to just be a job,” Nieuwhof said. “They want to make a difference in the world, and they are passionate promoters of causes they believe in, which can be great for your organization.”
To learn more about YEO and how you can help the leaders of tomorrow become passionate promoters of your vision, visit NAGConvenience.com. To register your young executives for the YEO Conference at Nouria, visit YEOConference.com.