Welcome to our Koupon News Update series, where we share news and trends that are shaping the convenience store industry! In this week's update, learn about CSD's 2018 Chain of the Year, the Snickers Hungerithm campaign, and this year's Thanksgiving travelers.
C-Store Retailer Trends
Kwik Trip: 2018 Chain of the Year
- The La Crosse, Wis.-based convenience store chain exemplifies what it means to be a “people company.” It is fully committed to guests, co-workers and its vendor partners, not as a strategy to grow the business, but because it’s the right thing to do. When this is your core mission, greatness surely isn’t far behind. The chain serves as a shining example of how to serve others and for this reason Convenience Store Decisions is proud to honor Kwik Trip as the 2018 Convenience Store Chain of the Year.
- “Our business model is pretty simple and boils down to two things: For Kwik Trip to be successful, we need to take care of our co-workers and our co-workers need to take care of our guests,” said Don Zietlow, Kwik Trip’s venerable founder and CEO.
- Insight: Kwik Trip focuses on its co-workers and delivering value to customers every day.
Outlook Survey 2018: The In-Store Opportunity
- With foot traffic stalling, c-store retailers are doubling down on their stores—whether it’s remodeling them, renewing their focus on in-store sales or expanding highly profitable categories. For 44% of Outlook Survey retailers, that means foodservice is first.
- When Outlook Survey respondents were asked which new product or service has been the biggest success of 2018, the most common mention was Juul, the e-cigarette from San Francisco-based Juul Labs. “We’re seeing 50%-plus growth with e-cigarettes this year with Juul coming out,” Samuels says. “We were one of first in the market to sell the product. That’s exploding.”
- Insight: C-stores are focusing on foodservice and fast-growing CPG categories to help drive customers into the store.
SNICKERS Brings Back ‘Hungerithm’ Tool
- The internet has seen its fair share of ‘hanger’ during the holidays as people tweet, snap and post their way through crowded airports, endless checkout lines and awkward dinner conversations. Internet ‘hanger,’ however, has its upside thanks to SNICKERS and its innovative ‘Hungerithm’ tool.
- For the second year in a row and just in time for the holidays, SNICKERS is bringing back ‘Hungerithm,’ a tool that monitors the mood of the internet. When consumers drop hints of hunger online, the coupon discount of SNICKERS increases at participating U.S. 7-Eleven stores in real time.
- Insight: Snickers is combing social media technology with mobile offers to engage shoppers.
Cashierless Technology Startup Standard Cognition Raises $40M
- Standard Cognition, a developer of AI-powered autonomous checkout solutions for brick-and-mortar retailers, announced yesterday in a company press release that it has raised $40 million in Series A funding. The round, which brings Standard Cognition’s total funding to more than $50 million, was led by Initialized Capital.
- Standard Cognition's platform is available to any retailer and makes it possible for consumers to shop and pay without scanning or stopping to check out. An alternative to Amazon Go, the company will use the new funding to expand its team and accelerate global expansion plans. The startup has recently opened a cashierless pilot store in San Francisco and secured four retail customers in North America, Asia and Europe.
- Insight: The cashier-less checkout trend continues to grow with the attention from top venture capital firms.
54 Million Americans Traveling This Thanksgiving
- AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8% increase over last year. The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as today through Sunday, November 25.
- The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
- Insight: C-stores are perfectly positioned to take advantage of a more mobile population.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Increasingly Merging
- The two most highly touted U.S. shopping days—Black Friday and Cyber Monday—are increasingly blending into a single mega experience as more customers buy items online and pick them up at brick-and-mortar stores, according to a New York Times report.
- These trends are a sign that retailers are merging online business with their physical stores, even as fewer people physically travel to those stores on Black Friday. Walmart, Kohl's and Target are among major retailers that are expanding the number of stores where shoppers can pick up online orders.
- Insight: E-commerce sales are increasing during this year's popular shopping holidays.