By Krystie Wiese

Convenience retailers have always been an integral part of modern life, providing fast and accessible solutions to the needs of busy consumers. Yet, the industry is evolving at an unprecedented pace, propelled by emerging trends that are redefining consumer expectations. In this article, we will delve into three key trends: Technology & Automation, Fresh & Prepared Foods, and Delivery Services, while uncovering strategies for convenience retailers to  drive customer loyalty, increase sales and profit, gain/protect market share and stay competitive with supermarkets and mass retailers by using our Three Easy Es. 

Embrace Technology & Automation

As we EMBRACE the era of unified commerce, technology and automation emerge as invaluable assets for convenience retailers dedicated to providing an impeccable customer experience. Here are some straightforward strategies to consider as you navigate this transformative trend.

Self-Checkout Systems: Implement self-checkout kiosks to reduce wait times, enhance convenience, and improve store efficiency. This technology not only pleases tech-savvy customers but also frees up staff for more personalized customer service.

Inventory Management: Invest in sophisticated inventory management systems that use predictive analytics to optimize stock levels, ensuring products are always available when customers need them.

Personalization: Utilize customer data to offer personalized promotions and recommendations. Implement loyalty programs that reward repeat customers and provide exclusive discounts.

Online Presence: Develop a user-friendly website or mobile app to enable online ordering and in-store pickup options. An online presence can extend your reach and cater to customers looking for a convenient digital shopping experience.

Considerations: To what extent is your team knowledgeable about the latest POS offerings in the market and the available features? How advanced are your forecasting and inventory management capabilities? To what degree are your customers actively participating in loyalty programs?

Elevate Fresh & Prepared Foods

Consumers are prioritizing their health and actively seeking convenient yet nutritious food choices. It’s only logical that retailers take cues from their customers and ENHANCE their own Food Service offerings to cater to these demands. Here are some recommendations to consider when raising the bar for your in-store Food Service offerings:

Expand Fresh Food Offerings: Invest in a wider selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, and other healthy options. Display them prominently to catch the eye of health-conscious shoppers.

Prepared Meals and Grab-and-Go: Offer ready-to-eat meals, sandwiches, and snacks for customers on the move. Ensure that these items are made fresh and rotated regularly to maintain quality.

Dietary Preferences: Cater to various dietary preferences and restrictions, such as vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan options. This inclusivity can attract a broader customer base.

Local Sourcing: Whenever possible, source fresh ingredients locally to emphasize the freshness and support the community. Highlight local partnerships in your marketing efforts.

Considerations: Does your organization possess the necessary tools to facilitate Assortment Planning for expanding your product range? Is your organization equipped with the essential tools to facilitate the management of fresh product orders?

Evolve Online Presence & Delivery Services

The changing landscape of consumer preferences demands that convenience retailers stay agile and maintain a strong online presence. In today’s digital age, consumers expect the convenience of browsing, ordering, and scheduling deliveries from the comfort of their devices. An online presence not only extends a retailer’s reach but also enhances customer engagement and loyalty by offering seamless shopping experiences. To thrive in this dynamic environment, EVOLVING online is no longer a choice but a necessity for convenience retailers.

Efficient Delivery Infrastructure: Partner with reliable delivery providers or establish your own delivery infrastructure to offer fast and convenient delivery options to customers’ doorsteps.

Online Ordering: Develop a user-friendly online ordering system that integrates seamlessly with your inventory management. Ensure that customers can track their orders in real-time.

Subscription Services: Consider offering subscription models for frequently purchased items, ensuring a steady revenue stream and convenience for customers.

Delivery Promotions: Implement promotions, discounts, or loyalty programs for online orders to incentivize customers to choose your delivery services over competitors.

Considerations: Does your organization ensure a smooth delivery experience from online order placement to doorstep delivery? Are you well-acquainted with the ways in which price and promotional tools can assist you in crafting and overseeing personalized promotions for your customers? 

In a world where convenience reigns supreme, the path forward for convenience retailers is clear: Embrace, Elevate, and Evolve. As we’ve explored some of the emerging trends in the industry, it’s evident that these strategies are not just recommendations; they are the lifeline for success. The journey towards mastering the Three Easy Es is the journey towards staying not just ahead of the curve but at the forefront of the industry, meeting the ever-changing demands of your valued customers and ensuring a prosperous future for your business. For a detailed guide on implementing these strategies effectively, please refer to our Call-to-Action Checklist  for Embracing the Easy Es.


Krystie is Associate Partner at Columbus Consulting with 10+ years of experience providing consulting and implementing solutions for retailers worldwide. She harnesses proven executive level leadership in technology organizations in alignment with the company’s vision, value, and goals.  Builds long term strategic relationships with global customers while farming opportunities for SaaS revenue generation. Learn more about Krystie here:


Columbus Consulting delivers solutions that drive true value and have been transforming the retail and CPG industries for over two decades. We are a retail consulting company of industry experts.   Our approach is simple, if you do it, we do it. We are more than consultants; we are experienced practitioners who actually sat in our clients’ seats. We understand the challenges, know what questions to ask and deliver the right solutions.  Columbus offers a unique, consumer-centric approach with an end-to-end perspective that bridges functional & organization silos from strategy to execution. Our specialties include: unified commerce, merchandising & category management, planning & inventory management, sourcing & supply chain, data & analytics, accounting, finance & operations, people & organization and information technology. Let us know how we can help you.  To learn more, visit COLUMBUSCONSULTING.COM


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