For a number of years, NACS, the leading association of convenience stores, has claimed that the “C” in its name could actually stand for community — and during the pandemic, shoppers totally agreed. These shoppers’ feelings of association create new opportunities and challenges for convenience store operators, especially when it comes to consumer expectations on sustainability.
“Convenience Store Customers and Sustainability: The Journey to Creating Brand Ambassadors,” the newest report from the NACS Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council, examines a range of shopper attitudes toward their local convenience store broadly and amid COVID-19 and the topic of sustainability.
Shoppers surveyed for the report emphasized the importance of their local convenience store, how well it operated safely during COVID-19 and how much easier it was to shop there than at larger stores. With these positive feelings and enhanced connectivity also come expectations that convenience stores will serve the needs of the local community well beyond products and services.
Shoppers talked about a range of activities they would like convenience stores to undertake to help consumers and the community do a better job on sustainability from the simple (adding recycling bins near gas pumps) to complex (adding electric vehicle charging stations).
The study, which can be downloaded below for free, includes a road map that suggests sustainability actions — quick wins and advanced initiatives — that individual operators can undertake to maintain and gain customer loyalty. The road map aims to guide operators in charting a realistic course of action.