he original concept and continued focus of convenience stores has always been centered on convenience. Regardless of the size, geography, or culture surrounding a C-Store the emphasis among C-Store retailers is to provide swift, easy, and affordable sales of goods and services their customer’s demand. C-Store retailers who were able to come up with creative and innovative ways to improve convenience for the consumers increased market share and presence. Brand giants in the industry like QuikTrip, 7-Eleven, Speedway, Wawa, and Casey’s are a testament to that.
It’s only natural that C-Store retailers offer delivery services. While the C-Store is already convenient in itself, nothing beats having your shopping delivered straight to your door. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery options have become more vital to the C-Store industry, and C-Store retailers are responding in-kind, by investing delivery functions and partnerships. This is where ridesharing comes in.
The first modern C-Store delivery took place in 2017, ushered in by 7-Eleven – not knowing what lay ahead. Deliveries from convenience stores have more than doubled in frequency since the last quarter of 2020. With the average consumer base spending more time indoors, the prospect of having your shopping brought to one’s home has been very attractive indeed. Now, C-Store retailers continue to capitalize on this by leveraging this paradigm further with the use of ridesharing services.
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery options have become more vital to the C-Store industry, and C-Store retailers are responding in-kind, by investing delivery functions and partnerships.
Convenience store operators are now taking the next step in home delivery in order to establish a competitive edge: by partnering with advertising companies such as Carvertise, as well as furthering their reach with ridesharing companies Uber and Lula. By wrapping and touting thousands of ridesharing vehicles with marketing and promotional materials, C-Stores are now able to further promote their brand in certain target markets. According to Greg Star, the co-founder of Carvertise, “What better way to entice consumers than by driving vehicles with high-impact designs and mouth-watering images through the communities and neighborhoods they serve?”
And he has a point: these Carvertise vehicles roam around urban and rural areas sporting C-Store advertising 24-hours a day, with drivers even toting around marketing materials that feature QR codes to give to their passengers. C-Store operators are even able to use a SWARM feature that allows them to summon multiple branded vehicles towards a particular venue, which is perfect for displaying advertisements during major events like concerts and sports tournaments. Operators involved with their services are even able to track real-time data that allows them to see vital metrics to ensure high effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Carvertise provides an added dimension in advertising for convenience stores in ‘saturated’ markets.
With new wave C-Store advertising being handled by companies like Carvertise, C-Stores nationwide are also experiencing a healthy relationship with ride sharing services like Uber. Uber’s relationship with C-Stores is focused on expansion, with Uber making it possible for convenience store operators everywhere to further their reach in local markets. Uber’s long-standing portfolio and experience in the ridesharing industry has given C-Stores the opportunity to expand their home deliveries. And this relationship doesn’t have any signs of slowing. Partnering with Lula, Uber has proven to be an extremely beneficial partner to C-Stores everywhere, and both parties work seamlessly together to create an entire customer experience that is centered around convenience.
Speaking of the Lula-Uber partnership helping to define the C-Store home delivery model, well, what is it? Lula is a delivery subscription service that allows C-Store chains like 7-Eleven and even smaller, local convenience stores to list inventory for local deliveries, essentially allowing C-Store operators to operate without building micro-fulfillment centers around the region. The services offered by Lula has allowed C-Stores everywhere to list and keep track of their inventories meant for delivery by 3rd party ridesharing services like Uber and engages a major challenge that many C-Store operators face: lack of resources for implementing home delivery services. Lula is, essentially, a virtual warehouse.
With Lula partnering with major 3rd party ridesharing provider Uber, they’ve begun rolling out even more convenience to customers everywhere via Uber Eats. Through the Uber Eats app, customers can now order their favorite convenience store products online, quick and easy, through the ‘convenience’ tab. And it’s as simple as ever: a customer places an order, the Uber driver heads to the convenience store (with inventory powered by Lula) and delivers said product/s on demand. Since convenience stores are usually operating 24/7, this kind of service trumps other grocery store delivery options that only operate during normal business hours.
With the nation reeling from the global pandemic, and with advancements in technology in recent years, the C-Store industry is steering straight towards an era of ultra-fast, super-effective levels of convenience when it comes to home delivery services. Uber, Lula, Carvertise. These 3rd party service providers are just the beginning. Innovative minds of entrepreneurs and marketers everywhere will no doubt lead to even more delivery concepts that further enhance and provide additional delivery options for C-Store operators of all types.