Convenience Stores Get a Makeover

From kombucha on tap to delivery of snacks, c-stores are adapting to the changing consumer landscape.

June 26, 2019

NEW YORK—U.S. convenience stores continue to evolve into more than a place to grab some salty snacks and fill up your gas tank, CNN Business reports. For example, this week, 7-Eleven announced it would deliver to “hot spot” public locations through its 7-Now delivery app, while chains like Wawa and QuikTrip are branching out to online delivery, craft beer and meal kits.

“It’s a huge switch from what we would have historically thought to see in [convenience] stores. It’s more than just your salty snacks and a can of soda,” said Catherine Lang, who analyzes the convenience store industry at Kantar. “Now I can go in and get a meal on my way home from work. I can also grab private-label wine.”

Kantar data found that nearly a third of millennials stop by a convenience store weekly, and that trend has more retailers adding healthier items to meet the needs of those consumers. Meanwhile, convenience stores are feeling the pressure from outside retailers, such as Amazon, Dollar General, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Target and Whole Foods, and which are opening smaller stores or mini-markets.

With NACS counting more than 153,000 convenience stores in the U.S. market, convenience stores work hard to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering fresh foodservice and private label goods. Chains and independent retailers alike are spiffing up their stores to create a warmer and more inviting atmosphere. “No more outdoor restrooms, dimly lit aisles and seedy characters,” Lang said.