Product offering: Innovating with the times
Convenience stores are also experimenting and upgrading their product offering to align with consumer trends and new generations of consumers.
As the pool of electric vehicles increases, convenience store operators are experimenting with the introduction of electric charging stations. We are also witnessing a number of different product innovations, such as:
· Upgrading the standard product offering. For example, Couche-Tard has introduced higher-quality coffee with their new self-service coffee machines,
· Building off the trend of local shopping by offering, for instance, locally craft beers and local specialties.
The Retail Innovation Lab (RIL) at McGill University
One setting that combines all the above elements is the RIL at McGill University, which opened in the heart of Downtown Montreal in January. The lab is a live, open and transactional convenience store environment. This allows Couche-Tard to work with leading edge academic researchers on areas such as, frictionless operations, artificial intelligence, sustainability innovations, and the trade-off between personalization and privacy.
All these initiatives are showing that we are living in an exciting time for the future of convenience stores to take advantage of the new realities brought by shifting consumer demands and rapid technology advances. COVID-19 has substantially accelerated the need for change. Several players are testing and innovating to make customers’ lives easier and the shopping experience more personalized and frictionless.
This article originally appeared in the May/June issue of Convenience Store News Canada.