While more than 70% of convenience stores expected to have posted better 2021 numbers than 2020, 2022 brings with it increased challenges. Labor shortages continue to impact all industries, with lower paying positions seeming the most impacted in the recovery. Work from home and the lingering effects of COVID and its descendants have still limited or altered general traffic. That and now fuel prices 30% higher than last year are impacting miles and therefore fueling stops. This will all weigh on in store traffic, revenue, and profit.
Two approaches to ward off potential revenue and profit declines for convenience stores are 1) increasing the variety and quality of food items and 2) turning toward new forms of service, mainly delivery and curbside pick-up.
According to The Motley Fool, offering delivery services might be key to convenience stores’ survival going forward. That will require an investment in labor and technology. One is difficult to find and both can be expensive while neither will generate specific return on investment immediately.
CStore Decisions said in 2021 that convenience retailing will need to refocus around the needs of people, not vehicles. They also note that 16% of convenience store customers look to the quality of food and beverages to determine where they buy food. Additionally, NACS identified that 60% of consumers are happy that the industry is offering products which are healthier and more nutritious with better serving size.
MRV Dairy Solutions has found many retailers on the grocery side successfully making those same transitions, especially as they adjust to the needs of the consumers. “We see more consumers asking for specialty dairy products at all retail channels, including the convenience store,” 30-year industry veteran Frank Otis with MRV says. “The challenge the stores have is knowing where to go to get those specialty products sourced and delivered. But if your store is providing single serve plastic pints of milk, you ought to be stocking lactose free and organic, among others, too.”
Given all the other issues constantly facing convenience stores, it’s understandable searching for new products doesn’t rise to the top of the to do lists. MRV can help identify your additional products and find the suppliers to deliver what you need when you need it. MRV knows the broader supplier network but within that, delivery frequency and expense as well as what the market (including competition) is paying. It’s now more convenient to secure your convenience store margins.