5 Ways Convenience Stores Can Win Gen Z…And Why Now’s The Time To Think About It

Originally published on millennialmarketing.com

With a growing number of Gen Z drivers behind the wheel, convenience stores are right to be thinking about how to connect with this young generation—and their dollars. By 2020, they will represent more than 40% of buying power,and will step in as the top consumer group within the decade.

The very nature of convenience makes c-stores attractive to younger consumers. Speed, ease and simplicity help establish brand loyalty. But the future for such stores lies in what Brad Hanna, Millennial and Gen Z marketing expert in consumer packaged goods for Barkley, calls the Gas-Plus approach

From wild flavor offerings to extravagant beverage centers, Hanna says there are other easy wins when it comes to appealing to Gen Z consumers.

  1. MAKE IT A FIELD TRIP: Gen Z consumers are collectors of unique experiences, and often visit c-stores in groups on their way to and from school and events. Offer share-worthy experiences in the stores and innovate the retail experience by incorporating technology that makes their shopping trip easier (absolutely a top value for both Gen Z and Millennial consumers), faster, more personal.
  2. SCOPE OUT THE COMPETITION: C-stores aren’t just competing against other c-stores, Hanna says, but specialty coffee shops and fast food chains. Promote more affordable offerings they can’t get other places, or find tasty, trendsetting treats that compete with other fast food menu items. Offer sneak-peeks and tastings of new menu items. Consider seasonal promotions (summer frozen drink specialties and specialty coffee) only available certain times of year.
  3. GET CREATIVELY DELICIOUS: Food trends often starts with young consumers, Hanna says. C-stores are a great place to offer experiential flavors in snack pack size, which translates to less consumer commitment. That’s why brands like Lays launch single serve, multi-flavored, grab-n-go snacks—think flavors like Biscuits and Gravy, Reuben, Truffle Fries—in the c-store market before taking them to mainstream grocers. Offering items that are hard to get other places is also smart strategy: Takis, for example, are a huge hit right now with young consumers, hard to find anywhere else but convenience stores.

Read more on how c-stores can attract younger consumers HERE.

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