tobacconist, retailer, shop, fiftiesMy wife and I changed our branding and supply relationship to Spar last year so we found Jerry Marwood’s interview with the Grocer recently interesting. As we moved from Londis to Spar the average sales per store and the sale per square foot are of passing interest.

The topic that is of most interest is what will the successful community shop/convenience store be like in the future? Marwood suggests that it will be bigger, making a much more significant fresh and chilled food offering. This is adapting the five shopper missions that Spar identified in 2004. These are:

  • Tonight’s tea
  • Food for now
  • Entertainment
  • Top up
  • Daily life.

All still valid today and Marwood identifies larger store size and improving the ‘tonight’s tea’ offer as of key importance for the future success of c-store’s. As a national aspiration of course that is undoubtedly a successful way forward, but the nation is made up of communities that have different population characteristics and have differing needs. My ‘community store of the future’ will most likely be different from yours.

One thing is certain; we will have to keep changing as our customers’ needs change. We already serve a community that has a higher than average older population. This brings with it a requirement to deliver an offer that is suited to households that only have one or two people as well as younger couples with children. The chief difference is that we need to stock smaller sizes that reflect this. It means that we need to be aware of older customers that may have mobility challenges or possibly have poorer eyesight, shelf edge ticketing issues, signage and good in store lighting are all important.

The community store of the future is in part already here, but we need to continue to evolve and we will need to keep investing to keep our store looking fresh and relevant. So the starting questions are who will your customers be, how will this change from today, how will they shop and what will their shopping missions be?

All we have to do is find the answers and deliver them in a profitable form.

When did you last make an investment in your store, what did you do, why did you do it, what were your expectations and how are you measuring its success?