Custom Product Improvements Address Convenience Store Concerns

Commercial Zone Blog

January 26, 2022

Custom Product Improvements Address Convenience Store Concerns

As we move into 2022, consumers everywhere are focusing more on clean, germ-free experiences when they are out and about.

Most car cupholders now double as hand sanitizer stations and sanitizing wipes are never far away. Since the pandemic began, sanitizer stations have popped up at every supermarket, big-box store, convenience store and public building.

But Commercial Zone client Circle K was ahead of the curve.

Circle K began its focus on cleanliness and sanitation as part of a new global image program. The widely recognized convenience store chain has more than 10,000 locations in 27 countries. As part of this global image program, Circle K acknowledged a consumer shift towards more upscale environments. Following a review of its operations, the c-store’s in-store environment checked this box, while the outdoor could use improvements. Enter Commercial Zone.

A team from Commercial Zone launched a year-long research effort to better understand how to make the outdoor and at-the-pump experience more premium for Circle K customers. The team quickly uncovered a sentiment of negativity among customers toward the current trash, recycling and window cleaning solutions, which many called “dirty and smelly”. Qualitative research also uncovered that many customers dread gas pump handles – both germs and getting gas on their hands. With these comments in mind, Commercial Zone began the prototype phase.

After 10 prototypes tested with more than 100 customers, the new custom Circle K product was born—The Aruba Waste and Windshield Service Center. It included a trash container, windshield station and dispensers for disposable masks, gloves for pumping gas and hand sanitizer. The solutions developed helped make customers feel safer at the pump. This also helped create a more premium experience for customers that mirrored the environment inside Circle K’s stores.

During product testing, one customer commented on the importance of cleanliness and went as far as saying if solutions like this were not available at Circle K, they would go to another gas station instead. Enhancements like these new windshield waste stations will make Circle K the gas station of choice for customers in the future.

Since this product development, Circle K is working with Commercial Zone and facility directors and fuel teams to add more than 20,000 new windshield waste stations in the coming years. Commercial Zone was proud of the solutions we were able to create for Circle K, their brand and their customers.