5 Retail Trends in C-Store Design

May 25, 2016
By Anthony Deen

1. Channel Blurring
From AXION’s coffee-centric Spot! Café in Argentina to the fast casual-inspired Kum & Go Marketplace in Iowa, c-stores no longer are bound by old formats and product offers. Is something working in another channel? Adapt it and weave it in. Consumers no longer expect hard-and-fast divisions between c-stores, QSRs, coffee shops and drugstores.

2. Outside-In
In the fuel-based c-store context, what if consumers could use something like Apple Pay to order food on a touchscreen while filling up and have it delivered to their car? Zarco USA, for one, is already giving this a try. Expect more technology-assisted design changes, outside and in.

3. Sit and Stay a While
At many Sheetz stores in the Carolinas, people lounge on couches and sip coffee. Retailers may need larger stores and parking lots to accommodate this kind of offer, because excessive crowding is a visual cue suggesting slow checkout lines. However, even c-stores with less-ambitious seating areas can up the ante with better furniture and more considered environments.

4. Inside-Out
When you cover the windows from floor to ceiling with promotional posters, the store actually repels customers. Contemporary c-store designs offer unobstructed views through oversized windows. The idea is to look appealing both from the roadway and the threshold. Taking this “inside-out” approach to the next level is a developing trend.

5. Food Is King
To engage the modern consumer, c-stores are ramping up the authenticity of their food and beverage offers. At Fresh Corner’s MOL stores in Eastern Europe, customers find spacious food counters with made-to-order sandwiches and other fresh fare. Many c-stores are bringing in food carts stocked with the kind of specialty cuisine typically found in urban food trucks.

Originally published by design:retail