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Convenience Stores: Building Customer Trust One Experience at a Time

“I have trouble demonstrating quality in a pervasive convenience environment.”

This is the first post in a six-part series that addresses the main business challenges convenience store operators face today.

Building Customer Trust One Experience at a Time

As you know, today’s convenience store landscape is changing. The competition is rapidly evolving as the lines between convenience stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, quick serve restaurants, and even dollar stores, continue to blur. The increase in competition is making it even more difficult for convenience stores to overcome the perception that they cannot offer fresh, high quality foods.

33 percent of consumers who have never purchased food at a convenience store haven’t done so because they believe the food is of low quality. 1

As convenience stores invest in foodservice, operators have little room for error. Customers may forgive their local grocery store for a single gallon of sour milk because they’ve shopped there for many years and have a solid history of positive experiences. Convenience stores don’t currently have the same luxury; these retailers need to earn customer trust.

Convenience stores need to change customer perception and build trust by consistently delivering one great shopping experience after another.

It can take several positive experiences to build customer trust in your brand, but it may only take one bad gallon of milk or one visit to an over-heated store to hurt your relationship with a customer. And with social media at their fingertips, consumers are not afraid to share a brand’s failures with the world.

If stores continue to rely on manual processes to manage food quality assurance and climate control, they are putting their brand reputation at risk. In today’s competitive retail industry, convenience stores cannot afford to leave it up to store associates to properly manage food temperatures or realize that the store is too warm before customers do.

With so much pressure riding on an individual customer or a single visit, operators can’t afford to leave their foodservice success up to chance. To overcome this challenge, convenience stores need to utilize refrigeration, HVAC and lighting facility control technologies to close the food experience gap, build a reputation for high quality food and encourage customers to stay longer and spend more.

40 percent of consumers say they would visit convenience stores for prepared foods more often if freshness and quality were improved. 2

Raising the quality of your food often raises customer expectations. With a partner like Emerson Climate Technologies, convenience stores can leverage more than 25 years of experience in the food retail industry. Knowing the ideal temperatures for food quality and the best HVAC and lighting conditions for customers can minimize the risks associated with poor refrigeration and fluctuations in temperature and lighting within the store environment. With facility controls in place, convenience stores can continue to deliver one positive experience after another, building customer trust in their brand.

 Look for the next post in this series for specific ways convenience stores can demonstrate quality in a pervasive convenience environment.

 John Atchley
National Account Executive, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

To read all posts in our series on convenience store challenges, click on the links below:

  1. Building Customer Trust One Experience at a Time
  2. Three Ways to Demonstrate Quality in a Pervasive Convenience Environment
  3. Replicating a Great Customer Experience in Every Store
  4. Three Ways to Provide a Consistent Shopping Experience Across All Stores
  5. Keeping Employees in Front of Your Customers
  6. Two Ways to Follow Best Practices with Limited Store Staff

1. C-stores Raise the Bar on Convenience Foods, Kelly Hansel, Institute of Food Technologies, January 2012; 2. Convenience Stores Winning with Fresh, Quality Prepared Foods, CSP Daily News, February 20, 2014

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