C-Stores With Gas Stations Have Competitive Advantage

One expert says that retailers that offer fuel as well as food and other necessities help consumers save time.

October 26, 2016

CINCINNATI – What is one advantage most convenience stores have over an Amazon.com convenience store? One industry expert summed it up in one word: fuel, the Cincinnati Business Journal reports. When Amazon announced a few weeks ago that it would be opening convenience stores and drive-thru grocery pick-up sites, some credited it as a publicity stunt, while others predicted it might cause upheaval in the grocery industry.

Walt Doyle, CEO of GasBuddy, sees one major disadvantage for such a venture: the fact that Amazon wouldn’t be selling gasoline. “People want a one-stop shop to get all of their necessities, which means fuel for their cars as well as their stomachs,” Doyle said. “This is evident in the year-over-year growth of the convenience store space. Consumers who need gas will stop to get it no matter what. Stores like Kroger, which offers gas and other necessities, save consumers time, which puts them at an advantage.”

Doyle pointed out that 80% of U.S. convenience stores also have gasoline pumps, which gives them a competitive edge over any Amazon store. However, Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives, said in a USA Today story on the proposed stores that Amazon convenience stores would look very different from what most U.S. c-stores are today. But he cautioned, “It’s not to say that they’re not inventing their own category.”