The convenience store industry is rapidly changing, with unexpected competitors emerging daily and technological advancements front and centre. Speaking to a sold-out audience at this year’s Race Is On Gala, 7-Eleven Canada’s Doug Rosencrans spoke about how now more than ever, retailers need to be flexible and resilient in order to navigate the new conditions, all while continue to build customer loyalty and trust.
Rosencrans spoke at length about how agile and adaptable convenience stores have a unique advantage at a time when brick-and-mortar retailers in North America famously struggle. Among the challenges plaguing the sector are rising food prices, regulatory restrictions on the sale of food products and the ever-present threat of channel blurring that has most recently seen online giant Amazon come forth as a potential convenience store competitor.
To succeed, Rosencrans suggests facing the challenges head on and embracing the opportunity that comes with this industry overhaul. Now more than ever, technology is changing how customers interact with retailers and it’s time that the sector adapts. Rosencrans cites the success of 7-Eleven’s app, which rewards customer loyalty and will soon help facilitate online orders for pick-up, as an example of progress that can be made in this area.
He also emphasizes that the needs of customers are changing. The men and women who shop at convenience stores already live and eat differently than in the past and it’s on the industry to deliver the alternative, healthy products that they seek. Even posting the nutritional information of products can help increase transparency and customer trust. Convenience retailers can be and need to be nimble to get ahead of these trends.
At the end of the day, convenience stores have always relied on building relationships and trust with their customers, that hasn’t changed despite all of the technological breakthroughs over the years. Fortunately, small retailers also have the advantage of being flexible enough to adapt to new trends and with stores already located in convenient locations are positioned to succeed in the new era of retail.
With special attention to addressing emergent trends and a continued focus on building and establishing trust, Rosencrans believes that the industry will relentless evolve.