2016 Retailer Survey
This time last year, I was in my Subaru with the crushed Cheerios and half-drunk sippy cups, family in tow, driving five hours north of my Chicago home base to my hometown in Wisconsin. I was struck by how the changing geography brought with it changing retail strategies, how the regional dynamics in Wisconsin somehow differentiated those retailers from their Chicago-based comrades.
Our inaugural c-store retailer survey last year determined that, indeed, regional variations exist, but only to an extent. You’re all far more alike in product strategy and sales expectations than you may think.
This year, as we set out to study what’s affecting your product mixes today, I didn’t have to go that far. I needed only look up from my screen at the faces of my office mates.
Johnathan is Gen Z and loves to snack. He is young and fun and makes no bones about his munchies. Nico is a millennial. He loves trying new things, particularly if they’re good for him.
Jen is Gen X. She also eats healthfully, but she puts an emphasis on the nicer things: Quality ingredients, sustainability and brand loyalty are important to her, regardless of cost. Angel is a baby boomer, and—let’s be honest—he’s been eating the same brands and drinking the same tea for years.
Through your responses to this year’s survey, it’s easy to see: Whether you’re on the West Coast, East Coast or somewhere in between, the faces walking through your doors are the ones determining your product mix.
One retailer told us the company has added a line of Hispanic pastries to its bakery set; another is testing the potential of craft beer. Most said their customers are after healthier options. And everyone’s giving critical thought to the newest products and most talked-about categories to determine what will really drive category growth in their stores.