Convenience Store Trends Leading the Way in 2019

» Convenience Store Trends Leading the Way in 2019

From retail technology solutions that enhance customer experiences to CBD-infused snacks and beverages, here’s what’s already trending in the convenience store space this year.

Loyalty Programs Prevail. Customers continue to show their love for the loyalty/rewards programs. According to Excentus’ C-Store Shopper Profile 2018 report, 43 percent of shoppers visit a convenience store because of its rewards program. Retailers are expected to continue leveraging loyalty customer data to generate more personalized experiences and rewards.

Stores Continue to Get Smarter. Artificial intelligence (AI) was a hot topic at National Retail Federation’s NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show. In fact, industry experts found that 85 percent of retail companies and 79 percent of consumer products companies plan on using intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021. Retailers are using technology to enhance the customer experience. Sheetz, the Altoona, Pa.-based convenience store chain, considers technology as “a key part of the experience” for its customers.

Making Convenience More Convenient. According to GroundTruth.com, “This year will be all about convenience. Consumers want a digital experience that’s seamless and meets their unique needs.” With frictionless shopping in high demand, retailers must embrace technology that makes it easier for customers to locate, pay—such as 7-Eleven’s Scan & Pay—and receive their purchases.

Top 5 Food Trends

  1. Superfoods Are Super Popular. Snacks like kale and beet chips, puffed cauliflower, and other non-GMO items are still the rage this year. According to Culinary Visions Panel’s 2019 Trend Forecast, 73 percent of consumers prefer superfoods that provide a boost of protein or antioxidants.
  2. Cannabidiol (CBD) Is King. Believed to help with depression, anxiety, pain, nausea and seizures, CBD cookies, coffee, candy and more, continue to reign. According to the National Restaurant Association 2019 What’s Hot Culinary Survey, 77 percent named cannabis/CBD-infused drinks as the No. 1 trend and cannabis/CBD-infused foods as the second most popular trend.
  3. Bigger Isn’t Always Better. Smaller grab-n-go items and mini desserts are in high demand. Forty-three percent of c-store customers wish mini desserts were an option, however as of 2017 only 27 percent of c-stores offered them.
  4. Plant-Based Power. Studies show 83 percent of Americans are incorporating more plant-based foods into their diet. Consumers continue seeking healthy and sustainable offerings through plant-based snacks, dairy and protein alternatives consisting of nuts, extruded seeds, beans, water lentils and algae.
  5. Global Grub. Millennials and Gen Z are driving global flavor trends. These adventurous consumers crave tastes from Africa, South Asia, Latin America, Mexico and Central and South America.

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