As more individuals are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and people are starting to feel more comfortable leaving their private bubbles to return to their previously normal routines, convenience stores are going to play a big role in satisfying their household needs. One major trend that has arisen since the start of the pandemic is the fact that people don’t want to stand around in one place for very long. Convenience stores make it easy for consumers to get in and out quickly while still providing them with a way to take care of their immediate requirements.
Because of this, convenience stores are a valuable commodity, especially for those who are returning to work or school after being sequestered at home for extended periods of time. However, it’s important for convenience store owners to recognize emerging trends that are a consequence of the pandemic, and shift their business operations to meet the demands of a “new” breed of consumers. Here are four emerging trends to keep in mind when considering your product mix and general operations:
– Food: Even with more time on their hands while socially distancing from others at home, many people don’t want to spend a lot of it preparing meals. This is especially true as the weather warms and people are less inclined to heat the oven up. Thus, there is an emerging trend toward more “grab and go” foods that are both nutritious and delicious. In fact, close to 50 percent of millennials purchase ready-to-eat meals from convenience stores.
– Health: While convenience is a major factor when it comes to meals, healthy choices are still an important consideration. More people today are concerned with having fresh and healthy options that are also ready to go. Requested options include meals that are sensitive to food allergies and social consciousness, so having a variety of choices such as high-protein, vegan, gluten-free, or all-natural are becoming increasingly desirable.
– Data: Customers want to feel like their patronage is valued. Being able to track individual consumer purchases through rewards programs and other data-gathering methods is becoming increasingly easier and more valuable for convenience store owners. Savvy business people are using that data to create a “direct” connection with their customers, opening a window of opportunity for additional sales and greater customer loyalty.
– Delivery: One of the biggest trends that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic is that people enjoy being able to order products online or by phone and have them delivered directly to their homes. Being able to adapt by providing delivery service—or at least curbside pickup—helped a number of industries remain competitive. However, for independently owned facilities like convenience stores, hiring a delivery driver is not always an option. This is where third-party services like Door Dash, Uber Eats, and Grub Hub have been able to meet consumer demand without adding additional payroll expenditures. Convenience store owners that can add this to their arsenal of services can cater to a larger consumer base and expand their profitability.
Count on Atlantic Dominion Distributors
Atlantic Dominion Distributors is one of the premier convenience store distributors serving Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We not only offer an incredible product mix from the biggest and best manufacturers in the nation, we follow consumer buying trends so we know what to put into our portfolio for our convenience store customers.
Because we know what consumers are looking for, we stock all of the hottest-selling items and offer next-day delivery so our clients can always have the best product mix and fully stocked shelves without needing to maintain a large inventory of products. When you want to meet the demands of current trends, call on us.