More than 20% of consumers, around 13 million adults, would like to have the ability to place orders online for delivery from their local c-store, new research reveals.

TWC’s research, ‘Forging a New Future in Convenience Retail – New Age Digital’, found a further 22% saying they would like to see their local retailer offering a loyalty or rewards scheme.

In addition, half of respondents are looking online for back-store information around opening times and promotions, with an increasing number of consumers looking for direct engagement with their local retailer through social media platforms, to ask questions and establish how busy the store is at certain times through the day.

Speaking on behalf of TWC, Tom Fender, said: “For many convenience stores, digital comms used to be about static comms where a retailer would put information on their website/social media pages, but now customers want two-way dialogue with retailers via chat/messages, to ask questions to the store, to see how busy the store is at certain times etc. Much of this will be live chats – constant throughout the day.

“We hear much discussion and debate around how retailers can maintain the growth momentum in the months ahead, and this report highlights the appetite for loyalty and rewards schemes by the consumer which could provide a powerful mechanic in this ongoing quest for customer loyalty.”

The report also shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has created an increase in demand for self-scan tills and contactless payment with 60% saying they use ‘contactless’ more when grocery shopping – a trend that is likely to continue well into the future.

The research also looked at how customer payment solutions could further advance in the future, with 33% of respondents saying they would like to see an app that could be used to pre-order products from their local convenience store, which could then be delivered or collected and paid for on a remote basis. Two thirds of people also said they would welcome either self-scanning tills or an app that could be used to scan products and pay for them when in-store.

Recipe and food inspiration was also highlighted as a value-added service, which respondents welcomed to be shared with them via digital and social platforms.

Fender added: “With half of responders saying that they are either aware of, or already following/interacting with their local store’s website or social media handles, there are some strong pointers as to how the sector can look to capitalise on the opportunities that are currently being signposted in what a new digital era looks like.  There is a real window in time that will be important to grasp with both hands and will be critical to success

“With no end in sight to the pandemic in its broadest sense, we know from our earlier chapters of research, that delivery services have in general seen a meteoric rise over the past three months with 82% of people saying they will continue to use these services after lockdown has lifted.  This has to provide immense opportunity for retailers.”

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