Convenience stores: it takes more to woo women

Articles
September 01, 2010

Convenience stores: it takes more to woo women

Despite efforts by convenience stores to become more female-friendly – brighter lighting, cleaner facilities and more prepared foods, to name a few – women find it easy to resist their charms.

Despite efforts by convenience stores to become more female-friendly – brighter lighting, cleaner facilities and more prepared foods, to name a few – women find it easy to resist their charms.

Indeed, 84% of women do not shop in convenience stores more now than they did two years ago, they told SupermarketGuru.com in an exclusive Quick Poll.  Granted, two-thirds of survey respondents were more than 45 years old, so they may be less open to some of the newer appeals of c-stores. Still, we feel the findings suggest a gender resistance to these small-format shops that are so popular with males.  Change takes time to recognize and longer to embrace; perhaps the more c-stores spruce up, the better they’ll fare with females.

The #1 reason women say they shop in a c-store is to get a cold beverage for immediate consumption (29%). The #2 reason:  Use the bathroom (20%).  Notable for c-stores: quick grocery need came in at #3 (14%). The top two answers reflect narrow needs that are influenced largely by location/cleanliness. The third answer could pose an unexpected opportunity for c-stores, which generally lack a significant grocery presence. If c-stores were to upgrade their branded grocery strategies, they might capture more female Quick Trips for household needs. In this survey, the quick grocery need far outpaced classic trip generators for c-stores – snacks, cigarettes, prepared foods, magazines, lottery tickets.

Since some women associate c-stores with grocery, it’s not surprising that they also measure c-stores in their minds against the supermarkets they shop in most often. The c-stores earn fair grades in these comparisons. For instance:

  • An overwhelming 83% regard c-store pricing as higher than in their favorite supermarket; just 3% felt c-stores are lower-priced.
  • Only 6% believe the c-store is cleaner than the supermarket they shop in most often; 43% said it is not as clean.
  • One-third of the women polled (33%) said the c-store feels less safe than the supermarket; just 2% thought the c-store was safer.

Despite the typically open layouts and high visibility of merchandise in c-stores, impulse sales don’t click in that often for the single-minded female shopper in this format. Just one time out of four or less did respondents say they buy an unplanned item on impulse in the c-store.