COVID-19 is impacting everyone – including convenience and gas retailers. Even as reopening continues, consumers are cautious about leaving their homes. As people begin to venture out, they will expect measures to be taken by retailers that meet their changing expectations around safety and convenience.
To consider how convenience stores can become even more convenient, we focused on two behavioral shifts and used insights from our recent consumer research to discover ways to address the convenience and gas channel in a post-pandemic world.
With the effects of Contact Avoidance and Protecting Personal Space in mind, our team explored a variety of solutions that could be employed as retailers begin to reimagine the consumer journey and both the in-store and out-of-store experience.
Retailers need to make ordering more convenient and accessible by enabling mobile ordering
Our reimagination of this process maximizes the retailer’s loyalty app. Consumers will be able to: order ahead from the app, have the option of voice-activated ordering, order c-store items directly from the pump, link their loyalty programs to the app for easy reward earning, and use a video ID verification for the seamless ordering of age-restricted products.
Retailers need to design solutions that allow customers to place and receive orders without leaving their vehicle
The drive-thru is reimagined to feature doors instead of windows to accommodate larger items. The system also supports both mobile order pick-up and onsite order and pick-up.
Retailers need to provide solutions to reach consumers who don’t want to enter the store
To create a convenient ordering experience from the pump, consumers can use voice-technology to order in-store items, make mobile orders from the pump (with the option of pump-side delivery), and use vending located next to the pump for popular items.
Retailers need to provide solutions that offer consumers streamlined pick-up and ordering options without entering the store
The reimagined store exterior features numbered, climate-controlled lockers for mobile order pick-ups. An adjacent walk-up window allows for fast age verification on age-restricted items.
Retailers need to provide consumers with streamlined in-store pick-up and easily identifiable packaging
Shelving is located right inside the doors to allow for quick retrieval of orders while minimizing in-store exposure and aiding with contact-avoidance and social distancing. Differentiated packaging for pick-up orders helps consumers quickly identify and grab their orders.
Retailers need to expand their prospective customer pool with a new delivery experience
Delivery is offered as a service to offices, jobsites, and even residential locations. The delivery comes in a branded vehicle with product packaging that features vendor promotions.
Retailers need to find ways to clearly position and communicate the presence of sanitation and cleaning stations.
To communicate and demonstrate the safety precautions being taken, pumps use the top screen to highlight sanitation and provide the location of readily available cleaning supplies throughout the station. Each pump also features a sanitation station.
Retailers will need to modify restroom design to eliminate every touch and reassure employees and customers of their safety
To eliminate touch in restrooms, the space is modified to make all touchpoints contactless, from the toilet flush to the hand dryers, in addition to including self-disinfecting door handle covers. Future thinking might involve gender-neutral, single-occupancy restrooms, contactless disinfecting hand washers, UV-disinfecting light with a self-locking door that opens (and shows a green light) once the space is sanitized, and a motion-activated automatic door.
As consumers begin to adjust their expectations around convenience, are you prepared for what’s ahead?
Contact us to help you reimagine what comes next.