WASHINGTON—Wary of large stores, more consumers have made convenience stores part of their regular shopping habits. But to meet continued needs for social distancing and other pandemic-related requirements, retailers must make some store layout alterations, GlobeSt.com reports.
“Convenience stores are inherently small-format, creating a natural conflict with social distancing,” said Josh Broehl, managing director at Big Red Rooster, a JLL company. “Shoppers just don’t feel as comfortable in tight environments, especially today.”
For example, consumers look for stores that have more visual cues and signage to help customers safely navigate the smaller spaces. Retailers may consider creating more complementary displays to reduce shopping times. Meanwhile, having quicker checkout options, such as self-checkout or scan-and-go, will get customers in and out fast with less social interaction.
According to Big Red Rooster, more than half (56%) of consumers feel “moderately” or “extremely safe” picking up online orders curbside. For example, Kum & Go, Casey’s General Stores, StrasGlobal, Cumberland Farms, Wawa and Alltown Fresh have curbside pickup services. In additional, convenience stores are partnering with delivery service companies, such as 7-Eleven and Instacart and QuickChek and DoorDash, while other retailers are handling the delivery in-house, like Foxtrot.
“[Delivery] will require shifts in processes and labor allocation. Ringing up an in-store shopper’s order is very different from fulfilling a mobile order and delivering that to the shopper,” Broehl said. “In addition, changes are needed in the store to provide staging areas for product orders and new paths for employees.”
For more on store design considerations in the COVID-19 age, including signage, drive-thru and curbside pickup, read “Attention Shoppers!” and “Pass Through” in the October 2020 issue of NACS Magazine, plus “Last-Mile Demands” in the August 2020 issue.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.