Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Convenience stores growth outpaces supermarkets for obvious reasons.

In a special report by Convenience Retailing 2010: Future Trading Strategies, with focus on United Kingdom the report showed that “the C-store sector is growing at a faster pace than the overall UK grocery market”. What is of particular interest to all of us is that the report also states that consumers “make more frequent trips to smaller shops instead of one large supermarket shop each week.”

That reflects the messaging that has dominated the grocery sector for years here in the US. Time starved consumers do not want to spend all day walking around up and down isle after isle looking for the 6 – 8 items they want! Thus the growth in the Grocerant niche, prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh portable food. Legacy grocery stores that are worried only about “basket size” days are in fact number (this is a attribute only important to the retailer). There are other attributes more important to the consumer. Companies that focus on the consumer will win. Not those focused on legacy metrics.

C-stores are responding to consumer with new item’s, faster service and inviting promotional offerings. I believe that that differentiated does not mean different to the consumer it means familiar: Here is just one fun example of a Fresh & Familiar food that a regional C-store is leveraging to their advantage .Rutters Farm Stores has added fresh-cooked waffles -- a regional favorite -- to its food menu.

They begin with the standard fare: “Waffle ice cream sandwich, with a choice of vanilla or Neapolitan ice cream, served with powdered sugar on top”; then the intriguing and fun for the consumers begins a “Waffle sandwich, with chicken and gravy; and,-- Waffle dinner, with chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes;”. Then too top things off and make the offer interactive and participatory for the consumer “Rutter's also added waffles to its bread options, joining white, wheat and rye” bread.

If success leaves clues it clear the convenience stores sector has picked many of the clues and is running away with consumers.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

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