May 19, 2022
Convenience store customers increasingly want the ability to place their food orders in advance via an app, according to a new study.
In light of the pandemic changing shopper habits and demands, 41% of customers now want the ability to pre-order at convenience stores, according to Datassential’s 2021 C-Store Foodservice Keynote Report , reported by convenience store decisions.
The technology is even more popular with younger customers. Customers are also asking for delivery, even though only 13% of convenience stores currently offer this option. The high cost of third-party delivery relationships and the loss of control over the brand experience have become major sticking points.
The largest operator in the U.S. convenience store space has already worked to outpace this demand.
7-Eleven recently launched its 7NOW Gold Pass subscription-based delivery service, which allows members to get delivery charges waived on over 3,000 food items ordered through the app. The subscription service costs $5.95 and also allows members to get benefits such as free products and earn double points on the 7Rewards loyalty app.
The chain began piloting mobile ordering/pickup and BOPIS in 2017. In 2019, it launched its 7-Eleven Evolution store concept, which acts as a lab to test new technology features as well as premium offerings like attached quick service restaurants.
Regional channels have also focused on expanding their app ordering capabilities. wowfor example, has an app that lets customers order, prepay, and pick up food, as well as get curbside delivery and pickup.
The chain even started piloting a small store concept for online order pickup with a walk-in window in 2019.
Customer demand for app ordering and delivery comes after years of convenience stores turning to restaurants.
Recently, a Gier Oil Co. representative referred to convenience stores as “restaurants that sell gasoline,” rather than places where people can buy gasoline. Gier Oil Co. owns and operates over 50 Eaglestop convenience stores in and around Missouri.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will all major convenience store chains eventually need apps to facilitate ordering and delivery in advance? Is there a risk that troubleshooters will over-invest in this type of technology/partnership and find it’s not as useful as it claims for customers?
“Online/mobile ordering will become an expected service for convenience stores as consumers take advantage of this convenience at many chain restaurants and retail stores.”