The NACS/CCRRC study Redefining Convenience: Successfully Marketing to the 21st Century Consumers http://www.cokesolutions.com/BusinessSolutions/Studies/Redefining_Convenience_Study_2000%20pdf.pdf, completed in 2000, challenged c-store operators to take ownership of the new definition of convenience, described in the report, and to aggressively market its unique strengths and services.
One implication from the study is that convenience retailers tend to “undermarket their assets” and, in so doing, allow other less convenient retailers to take ownership of the convenience proposition.
This phenomenon suggests there could be great reward – in sales and customer loyalty — for convenience retailers who put as much emphasis on marketing as they do on merchandising.
If pursued, what might this look like? First, there would be a Senior VP of Marketing who reports directly to the CEO, not to the top merchant. Next, the company would focus their business planning on serving the needs defined directly from the “voice” of the customer. For example, they would serve as the “true north” for aligning the business. Finally, the convenience retailer’s marketing budget would be sized to build loyalty to the retail brand.
Speculating about such an approach has me asking even more questions: If this happened, what would be the result? If it didn’t occur, what would be the main reasons why and are they good enough?
NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council
Founder, Willard Bishop Consulting and Chief Architect ClickMeetsBrick http://www.brickmeetsclick.com