Above: We’ve come a long way from the ribbon typewriter era to mobile apps for paying at the pump.
Some of the COVID-19-inspired business practices have stuck around now that we are nearing the end of year three of the pandemic. Can you believe it? Take mobile apps, for instance. Before 2020, I was an infrequent user of the Starbucks mobile app and rewards program and had a smattering of other apps for convenience stores and QSRs on my phone. If the apps aren’t clunky—and the rewards are decent—I use them. Ordering and paying in-person for a beverage or food item that I intend to consume on the go seems so dated. I even use a mobile app to activate the fuel pump and pay for my purchase when I buy gas. That said, I seldom use curbside pickup now, but I did frequently when the risk of contracting COVID-19 seemed quite high. One thing I’d wished had stuck around: vigorous cleaning of everything from the floors to the pin pads on the POS system. Those are things that shoppers appreciate anytime.
Convenience store shoppers want the c-store of yesterday–and the one of the future.”
Our cover story unveils the findings of the 2022 NACS Convenience Voices mobile shopper insights survey. The upshot? Convenience store shoppers want the c-store of yesterday—and the one of the future. Convenience in terms of location is still the No. 1 reason why consumers visit a particular c-store. Increasingly, consumers are looking at price, rewards and loyalty programs, plus product assortment and speed of service, when they decide where to shop. They also want quality food and ease of checkout, especially mobile payments.
What would the first issue of a new year be without predictions? To that end, we asked some foodservice pros to share their thoughts about what lies ahead for c-store foodservice operations (Think: value, simplicity, local, LTOs, coffee). Here’s mine: By the time 2024 rolls around, people will have grown tired of the spicy/sour/flavor mashup craze in favor of simple, classic foods, whether healthy or indulgent.
Finally, welcome to Don Rhoads, our new NACS chairman. Get to know Don and his plans for the year ahead in “A Time to Give Back.”
I hope your New Year is off to a great start! Here’s to new beginnings, my friends.