he world looks very different since the first convenience store opened its doors in Dallas, Texas in 1927. The concept was born out of the need to have a convenient place for locals to pick up food and household goods. These locations quickly caught on and sprung up all over the nation. Over the decades, c-stores made minor adjustments to their services to meet market demands such as providing automotive fuels and accepting credit card payments.
Until recently, c-stores had little competition in the space and stores had the same look and feel as they did nearly 100 years ago. However, in the last decade, new technologies have begun to emerge that are anticipated to change the convenience store business model entirely. While technology adoption began slowly, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this change as many companies were forced to rethink the way they leverage technology in the face of government shutdowns and strict health regulations.
Its critical for convenience store businesses to understand what factors are driving these changes and how their businesses will need to adapt in the future to remain competitive. C-store operators that fail to rise to the challenge could quickly lose market share to a competitor or risk becoming obsolete.
In the future, business practices that have worked for c-stores for decades will no longer be effective. The entire c-store model is expected to change. Fortunately, there are some clear indicators of which areas will be impacted the most. C-store operators who want to stay ahead of these emerging trends need to better understand the forces and technology driving these changes.
Understanding what the future holds is the key to creating strategic plans to unveil new technology and push the boundaries of latest product offerings and customer experiences. In the following chapters, we will take a deep dive into each of the areas mentioned above. Our goal is to cover how each of these elements look today, what factors are driving their change, the challenges that exist, and what to expect in the future. With this new information and knowledge, you will be better equipped to prepare your c-store business for the exciting road ahead.