Why? A big reason is Millennials.
Global market researcher Nielsen, Chicago, is predicting that over the next five years c-stores will grow at a faster rate than any other brick-and-mortar retail option. Key to that growth is the group known as Millennials, those who in 2020 are ages 23-38.
According to Pew Research Center, because most Millennials entered the workforce during the height of the Great Recession, their life choices, future earnings, and entrance to adulthood have been affected in a way that makes them unique.
Advancements in technology, the proliferation of online commerce and growth in connecting through social media are also key in shaping spending habits and schedules of Millennials. With fewer consumers in that generation holding to traditional shopping channels, the door is now open for new options, designed to fit the lifestyles of this more mobile group.
Enter the c-store.
“Millennials view c-stores differently than other generations,” said Sandi Dzirbik, sales director for Commercial Zone, Milwaukee. “They see them as mini grocery stores, where they can quickly stop in, grab what they need and then reconnect with people.”
The desire for Millennials to connect is at the core of new c-store designs, which along with the addition of fresher offerings and grab-and-go meals includes bright and clean seating areas that become social gathering spaces.
“There was a time when with c-stores it was simply ‘get in, get out,’” Dzirbik said. “For most Millennials today, it’s not so much convenience as it is the overall customer experience.” Convenience falls into that, but what they’re really looking for are comfortable environments in which they can connect with others.
Businesses with clean and attractive common areas have special appeal for those younger consumers. “Millennials like to gather, which is why you’re seeing more lobby-like areas in many businesses,” Dzirbik said. “It reflects more of who they are and helps them better identify with the business.” To maximize appeal, that clean and attractive look must extend to the store’s exterior.
That’s because Millennials are paying more attention to the exterior of a business. According to Dzirbik, it’s the things they see outside a c-store that pulls them inside.
Comfortable benches, properly marked recycling bins and well-maintained trash containers are all exterior accessories that all help form a first impression among this generation of consumers. “Recycling and trash containers are the last thing someone considers when remodeling the front of their buildings, but they’re one of the first things Millennials consider,” Dzirbik said.
Commercial Zone offers a full line of stock and custom exterior solutions, which are designed to blend in and enhance a building’s overall appearance. Contact us today to learn how we can help make the front of any business more attractive.