5 Oil Trends Show Silver Lining For C-Stores In 2022


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Globally, government responses to the Omicron variant have again triggered travel restrictions, uncertainty reigns, consumer behavior continues to change, and oil prices have fluctuated wildly at every turn. The ripple effect is that consumers are paying well over $3 a gallon; over $4 in California.

Buying patterns, marketing programs and corporate alliances are all transforming in response to sustained unpredictability and will likely continue to do so in 2022.

As the oil industry dictates changes to the convenience store model, here are some trends to watch in the new year and the opportunities they represent:

  1. Fuel up, spend less

With the price of fuel at the highest it was in recent years, consumers are putting more variable amounts of gasoline in their cars. What would have been a full last year will often be a quick $5-10 buy. That means more trips to the gas station, but it’s still more manageable for most.

This change in buying behavior may be a necessity, especially for lower- and middle-class households who must pay from salary to salary as they struggle to fuel their cars and heat their homes.

For the convenience store retailer, this represents an opportunity, as they more often have customers on site. By creating and clearly promoting programs around seasonal items, discount offers, and loyalty points, store owners will strive to capture the attention of these customers, provide consumers with offers that resonate, and create value. encourage repeat visits for more than fuel.

  1. Rise in mergers and acquisitions

Consumers looking to save money on gas by making fewer stops on an errand or looking to get away from crowded stores in light of concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19 ) are more frequently turning to convenience stores as one-stop-shops.

In response, convenience stores have diversified their offerings, increasing their value in the shopping landscape. This in turn has become a factor in the rise of industry mergers, acquisitions and consolidations.

As the value of convenience stores continues to grow, expect more market-shaping moves within the sector in the coming year.

  1. More loyalty programs and partnerships

A recent GasBuddy poll reported that over 60% of Americans frequent a station that has a loyalty program attached. Now more than ever, customers want something back for the purchases they make every day; and as gas prices continue to rise, they will only be looking for more and better incentives.

Major retailers are paying attention and forging strategic partnerships in response. Given the ability to stock up and save on other necessities – or vice versa – customers will continue to be more likely to shop intentionally where they engage in loyalty programs.

4. Chips and more (not that kind)

Gas stations are already mandated to use smart card reader technology to prevent skimming, hacking and other fraudulent activities associated with much less secure magnetic stripe readers. Although some stations may be slow to adopt the technology, credit card companies will stick with them, issuing fines if necessary.

Next year will see a marked increase in security measures such as the transition to chip technology, as well as near-field communication (NFC) capabilities in the form of smartphone apps. These platforms enable fully contactless pump authorization and payment executed safely and securely from a customer’s phone.

5. Ingenuity elevates an era of change

When consumer behavior changes, innovation wins. As motorists continue to look to convenience stores to fulfill the one-stop-shop role during uncertain times, store owners will respond by finding new ways to provide what their customers need. Whether expanding product offerings, enabling shopping power through touch lists and smartphones, partnering with third-party apps, or expanding their own, convenience retailers will continue to explore new avenues and expand old ones.

Designed with intention, innovative consumer programs will mean good news for customers and store owners.

Whether they’re looking to capitalize on increased customer visits, attract top loyalty program partners, grow within the industry, or simply earn more customer allegiance, convenience stores in 2022 have the tools they need to succeed and the innovation to compete in a changing landscape.

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