ALEXANDRIA, Va.—On this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “The Survey Says…Consumers Love Convenience,” NACS hosts Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, and Donovan Woods, director of operations for the Fuels Institute, discuss the 2020 consumer survey results about gas-buying habits with Lori Stillman, NACS vice president of research.
One major thing that has evolved over the years is that customers have developed favorite gas stations or convenience stores. The survey found that 62% of gas consumers say they seek out a specific store, which is double what it was eight years ago. “The in-store offer has evolved to such a level that people are starting to seek out convenience stores for the store, and by the way, gas,” Lenard said.
“What we’re seeing is a huge commitment on the part of the retailer to make what’s happening inside the four walls of the store a place where you want to go in, you want to check it out and you might want to even spend a few minutes to stay—and that’s very different from the gas station I grew up with, which was more about a transaction as opposed to an experience,” Stillman said.
What’s changed also is the way we talk about buying gas, which has shifted from having to buy gas to wanting to buy gas. “We’re not saying buying gas is fun, but we’re saying it’s a lot closer to fun than it used to be perceived,” Lenard said.
“When I grew up, Dad got out and put gas in the car, got back in and we drove off,” Stillman said. “Now it’s ‘who’s going inside?’ and ‘while you’re in there, could you grab me this or this?’ All of a sudden, the entire car empties out and we all have different missions inside the four walls of the store. … It’s a family experience.”
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