Chicago and Japan are creating on-site grocery stores for condos and apartments downtown.
Convenience is reaching a whole new level with “building theme stores”. C-stores should take notes from grocery stores that are taking up residence inside or below apartments where residents live. This strategy is sure to win people over, since they do not even leave their building to shop. This eliminates worrying about spoiled milk or melted ice cream. These stores are connecting communities and neighborhoods by taking advantage of technology and redefining convenience. This trend has also been seen in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea and even Canada, where an upscale grocery store called Urban Fare is the ground level for the condos above.
Australia is leading the way with a “foodary” c-store concept trend.
Caltex is a fuel company that launched a c-store with a huge selection of fresh foods and snacks alongside new tech services. Located in Sydney, the c-store has food and drink options that change depending on the time of day. This is convenient for commuters and locals looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner options. They even have their own baristas preparing fresh delicious coffees and baked goods from a local bakery. The services include an app to pay for fuel through their phone and mobile ordering for in-store pickup.
Seoul has a 7-Eleven store that takes technology to the next level.
Residing in the world’s fifth tallest building 7-eleven is trying out HandPay which is the start of a completely unmanned c-store where products will go through a 360 scan before purchase. The HandPay is currently in beta and only available for employees, but hopes to soon offer the service to all of its customers. They are not yet sure if it will ever be available in other countries, so for now HandPay is exclusively in South Korea. The idea of HandPay came from a need to simplify the payment and overall checkout process. Other ventures such as fingerprint scanning or facial recognition has been tried before, but HandPay is nothing the world of c-stores has ever seen before.
South Korea also features a c-store with a classical music theme.
In another part of Seoul there is a c-store concept with a musical twist. The c-store, With Me, has a unique building that is shaped like the art center’s music hall. It has many different features including listening stations and pictures of famous classical artists and their albums. These stations accompany the typical c-store products and services that are available in other parts of the store.
Singapore debuted a 7-Eleven with seating areas and an overall larger c-store size.
In the United States 7-Eleven is the small corner store that everyone knows and loves, but they are redefining this image starting in Singapore. With a larger footprint customers will be able to enjoy new amenities like contactless payment, ATMs, and BillPay. Shoppers that are wanting better food products will get their wish with new hot and cold freshly prepared meals. There will even be a new seating area where they can enjoy their ready-to-eat foods. 7-Eleven also plans to get rid of their frozen meals and adding to the fresh meal selection with a total of 40 different entrees including braised duck rice and Japanese pasta. This is a huge step forward for the world’s most recognizable chain and we wonder if they will be expanding this design to other parts of the world.
C-store owners are always surprising customers with bigger, faster, and more exciting ways of experiencing convenience stores. Moving towards new trends and services may seem out of reach to single store owners, but this is not the case. Start by finding trends that you think your customers will enjoy and slowly start to implement new services and products. Before you know it you could be setting c-store trends instead of following them.