General Mills Study Identifies How C-stores Can Better Connect

“Using digital channels to connect with convenience store shoppers can help build loyalty and drive traffic,” notes consumer insights manager at General Mills Convenience and Foodservice.

Shoppers actively use digital media to seek out information from retailers, yet convenience stores lag behind competing channels in digital connections. General Mills Convenience & Foodservice recently conducted a survey to identify ways that convenience retailers can use digital media to build stronger relationships with shoppers.

The online survey polled 360 convenience store shoppers, ages 18-64, in December, 2013.

Key Findings

Convenience stores lag in digital connections. Some 86% of shoppers said they receive texts, alerts, emails or deals from a variety of retailers (including mass merchandisers, convenience stores, drug stores and others), yet only 41% of shoppers connect digitally with convenience stores (through Website visits, texts, emails or apps).

• Website visits: 30% of shoppers reported visiting a convenience store Website, while 58% reported visiting a fast food restaurant Website.

• Emails: 24% of shoppers received emails from a convenience store, while 44% reported receiving emails from a drug store.

• Texts and Apps: Convenience stores are closer to the competition when it comes to texts and apps:

• 13% receive texts from convenience stores, while 20% of shoppers receive texts from fast food restaurants.

•  16% use an app from a convenience store, while 20% use an app from a coffee shop.

What kind of content engages shoppers?  The top five reasons cited by shoppers for connecting with a convenience store:

•  Receiving coupons: 67%

•  Finding out about sales or special deals: 62%

•  Updates on new products or offerings: 55%

•  Seeing what products are offered: 48%

•  Locating the nearest store: 47%

What specific items are shoppers most interested in? Gas, hot beverages, fountain drinks, and fresh bakery items—a  typical convenience store’s key destination categories.

Advice for Retailers
“Using digital channels to connect with convenience store shoppers can help build loyalty and drive traffic,” said Chris Quam, consumer insights manager at General Mills Convenience and Foodservice.  “Convenience store shoppers receive information from other types of retailers, so they should be open to connecting with convenience stores as well.   Relevant deals and news about cool products are key ways to break through.”

He added, “telling shoppers that these programs exist in the first place is fundamental for awareness and actively marketing the program is a critical step in building participation.  Simply developing a great app or email program is not enough to get noticed or used.”

 

 

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