ALEXANDRIA, VA—With many communities suffering from the economic downturn and recent tensions, consumers are seeking more engagement from local businesses. Convenience stores are no exception as the industry has poured support into feeding needy families and supplying frontline workers—and consumers have noticed, according to a May 2020 national consumer survey conducted for NACS by PSB Insights.
Convenience stores have always been positive contributors in their communities, giving more an $1 billion a year to charitable organizations, according to a NACS Retail Member survey.
The philanthropy questions in the latest NACS consumer survey were designed to help retailers define what may work best for their organizations—as well as how they could tell their stories to the communities they serve.
More than a half of all consumers surveyed said they would feel more favorable about a store that contributes to community or charitable groups, and at least one in three say they would be much more likely to shop at the store.
Consumers were asked: For each of the following initiatives, how much you would like to see each action taken in your community? If you saw a convenience store in your community participating in these initiatives, would you be more likely to shop at that store? (Note that multiple responses were permitted.)
Here are some other findings from the survey:
- The more direct the donation, the better: Any philanthropy is welcomed right now, but distributing food (30%) and personal protective equipment (18%) directly to those needing them rated the highest when consumers were asked to name the most important donation—ahead of grants and donations to food banks (16%) or monetary contributions to hospital workers (11%).
- All news is local: If you are doing charitable work, consumers most want to see it on the local news (69%), far ahead of social media (42%). Also of interest are national news (36%) and in- store (35%).
- Charity is contagious. There may be opportunities to work with your customers to do good. When asked what actions they would take as a result of a store doing charitable work, 39% said they would tell others about it. And it may also spur a movement: 34% would donate directly to that charity, and 29% would join a fundraiser.
“We know that convenience retailers are very active in community giving. But we also wanted to know what is of most interest to consumers during times of need so that we can share ideas with our members, as well as examine future partnerships on a national level to support member activities,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “The great news is that consumers are well aware of how our industry serves communities. A record 78% of consumers now say that convenience stores share their values and do business the right way.
The national consumer survey was conducted online by PSB Insights; 1,100 U.S. adults who purchase fuel for a vehicle such as a car, truck or van at least once per month were surveyed from May 15-18, 2020. Reference is also made to a similar January 24-30 consumer survey of 1,253 American drivers.