How convenience retailers are meeting evolving shopper needs

Date : 06 November 2019

Rachel Sibson

Retail Analyst

Consolidation and evolving shopper trends are impacting convenience retailers and the channel more widely. In the convenience retailing stream of IGD Live, Costcutter shared the benefits it is realising from ranging for local catchments, while the founder of Thorntons Budgens, Andrew Thornton, discussed his initiatives to remove plastic from its operations.

Tailoring range to the needs of the demographic

Understanding and responding to shopper needs is key to unlocking growth in convenience. As convenience retailers will not be able to meet the same levels of choice within larger stores, tailoring the range to the needs of the local demographic is of growing importance.

With its Shopper First programme, Costcutter aims to help its retailers respond to the needs and wants of the shopper, ultimately to support their profit. The goal was to transform shopper experience by putting shoppers’ needs first. It did this by implementing the right range and offer and partnering with suppliers to maximise the opportunity that comes with targeting specific shopper demographics.

Costcutter used shopper research to identify five key convenience shopper personas for its stores. Demographic data was then used to profile each individual catchment, to ascertain the relevant composition of the shopper-base for every store, showing retailers where they under-index. Understanding where stores under-index will enable retailers to attract fresh footfall by targeting shoppers’ needs.

As well as this, focusing on the modern shopper, Costcutter developed a brighter, more appealing design for this important group. This helped it place an increased focus on meeting key missions to make the offer easier to shop.

Targeting the environmentally conscious shopper

The amount of plastic packaging used to protect and preserve food and groceries became a very contentious and high-profile topic in 2018, which has continued into 2019. Customers are more aware than ever about environmental issues and are looking for businesses that give them solutions so that they feel they are contributing.

Thornton’s Budgens in Belsize Park, London is an excellent example of best practice in this space, which other companies can look to for inspiration. The store was the first in the UK to launch plastic-free zones, initially switching 1,800 SKUs to plastic-free packaging. After the launch of its new Unpackaged range in October, the store now carries 2,600 plastic-free lines.

Andrew spoke about the need for authentic leadership to tackle the issue of removing plastic from the supply chain, and how his store can be used as an example to showcase to leading retailers that it is possible.

Doing good is good business is a key global trend

We identified Doing good is good business as one of our five Global retail trends we expect to develop and shape the global retail market in 2019 and beyond. Retailers are continuing to announce new initiatives around this trend, with a focus on helping customers and communities live better and more sustainable lifestyles. We expect retailers to continue to push their sustainability credentials further in the future.

Find out the five trends shaping convenience retailing across the world, this year and beyond, and see how innovative retailers are responding…

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