Does anyone get excited about buying gas? Some version of that question is one I’ve heard many times during my four years at the helm of NACS Magazine. I have to say, I don’t mind gassing up my car (except for those times working at a weekly newspaper after college when I could only afford a few dollars at a time). Hang around long enough with folks in this industry, especially on the petroleum side, and you can’t help but smile when you see gleaming new EMV-compliant fuel dispensers in the wild—double points for ones with touchscreens and advertising.
For most consumers, buying gas isn’t the highlight of their day. In fact, consumers are grumpy about buying anything these days, mainly because of inflation. The findings of the 2023 NACS Consumer Fuels Survey indicate widespread pessimism about the U.S. economy, with 90% of drivers surveyed saying that gasoline prices have a “great impact” or “some impact” on how they perceive the economy. When it comes to convenience, there are some bright spots. The survey found that 85% of consumers rated their last experience at a c-store as excellent or good, and consumers say c-stores outrank other retail channels for customer experience. Read more in our cover story, “Selling Fuel to People in a Bad Mood.”
Ask anyone who’s ever dealt with construction and they’ll be quick to share how even the most straightforward project can go awry. In “Permitting Pitfalls,” we tap into the wisdom of two convenience retailers with newly opened stores: Babir Sultan, president of FavTrip, and Kevin Smartt, CEO of TXB Stores, who share practical advice for dealing with setbacks.
Last year we looked at THRIVR, an exciting new initiative from NACS and SOCi that provides an affordable way for convenience retailers big and small to manage their digital presence. This month we provide an update in “Thriving in an Online World.”
Elsewhere, we share ways to build back the breakfast day-part, how to refresh your store’s brand and leadership lessons from the 2023 NACS Leadership Forum.
Here’s to spring and new beginnings. See you on the road, my friends.