January 13, 2022

As convenience store operators look to better understand and serve consumer desires for socially responsible, it pays to understand the modern shopper sustainability journey.

Convenience Store Customers and Sustainability, the newest study from the NACS/Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council, examines the various stages of the sustainability journey and how concerns vary through each phase. Nearly 45% of shoppers who participated in the study are classified as “Deciders.” These shoppers expect their purchases to have maximum social benefit and minimal negative impact.

Like most convenience store customers, Deciders think of social and sustainability concerns in terms of community impact but are more likely to consider product issues as well, such as eco-friendly packaging, food waste and sustainably sourced products. The Deciders category of customers believe that the changes they personally make as shoppers may cause retailers to make changes as well, such as adapting the products they stock or offering more opportunities to recycle.

It’s crucial for c-store operators to understand that while implementing sustainability efforts can attract Deciders, lacking a strategy in this area may cause them to seek out a different shopping experience.

As c-store operators look to implement sustainability strategies, they should ask themselves what initiatives will make the biggest impact and how difficult they will be to support long-term. Shoppers across all levels of the sustainability journey expect c-store operators to help support their personal sustainability goals, and a prioritized approach can help fast-track these efforts.

The entire study, including a roadmap outlining strategies for customers at each level of the sustainability journey, can be downloaded for free: