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Gen Z C-Store Consumers: What Do They Want?

The global Gen Z population, anyone born between 1995 and 2012, is set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020. This means that c-store owners need to adapt their businesses so they appeal to their youngest customer demographic. Owners should be adding and upgrading aspects of their c-stores now to ensure profits in the future.

Newer Technology for New Experiences

Many c-store owners believe that people belonging to the millennial generation and those belonging to generation Z want the same things when it comes to the convenience industry. But the newest generation of consumers has their own wants and needs when it comes to shopping. One of their biggest requests is new technology. They want technology to be used to enhance their overall shopping experience. "Generation Z expects technology to be intuitive, relevant and engaging. Their last great experience is their new expectation". Single owned c-stores can do this through mobile ordering, an app, digital rewards program, or a website.

These shoppers want their technology to be easy to navigate and fast. Using technology in your store can bring in huge profits from this age group, but it could also hurt you. 62 percent said that they will not use any online technology that is difficult to navigate and 60 percent will not use apps or websites that are slow to load. This means that you need to make sure that you invest the time and energy into making your newest technology endeavor seamless before releasing them for shoppers to use.

Food and Beverage Customization

One of the ways you can set your c-store a part in the eyes of Gen Z is by offering more food and beverage customizations. This could include:

  • Custom-made frozen drinks
  • Salad or sandwich bar
  • Flavor options for coffee
  • Made-to-order foods like pizza, wings, or hot dogs

There are many different options to choose from, so c-store owners should pick customization options that will fit their stores and customer base.

More in Store Shopping

IBM released a study in January 2017 that showed almost all members of Generation Z prefer to shop in stores rather than online. Although they do use online shopping significantly, customers would rather have their products immediately instead of having to wait. You can take advantage of this by offering more grocery products. Generation Z customers that are now entering their twenties are more likely to pick up dairy, produce, and fruit products from a c-store if it is more convenient for them. By only stocking products that are in season you can sell these items at a low price making it even more tempting to Gen Z shoppers.

You can make their overall shopping experience more enjoyable by placing an emphasis on customer service. Shoppers want to be able to interact and engage with employees if they need help finding an item or have any questions. Make sure employees are approachable and available. Many times there is only one or two employees running a c-store at any time Having at least one person that can keep an eye on customers and help them if needed is important for great customer service.

Low prices and Fast Service

Generation Z is always looking for new ways to save money. Since they are the youngest generation many of them do not have the ability to splurge on new and fun items. They typically try to buy items that are on sale or are part of a promotion. This makes them feel like they are getting more value for their money. They are also more likely to buy items if they are easy to find and packaged for on-the-go. These type of products are a part of their "fast" expectations for c-stores. Customers want to be able to get in and out without having to wait in a long line or waste time trying to navigate poorly labeled aisles.

C-Stores That Are Satisfying Gen Z Shoppers

Wawa; 51 percent of Gen Z customers voted Wawa as a top c-store choice. Many shoppers love their mobile ordering that allows them to get their items faster.

Sheetz; 54.9 percent of customers ages 18 to 24 love Sheetz because of their unique food customizations. Sheetz offers made-to-order subs, sandwiches, burgers, premium salads, appetizers, and breakfast sandwiches.

RaceTrac56.9 percent of younger shoppers rated RaceTrac as a top c-store because of its deals and low prices. They also love RaceTrac's new rewards app that offers coupons and free drinks for anyone who downloads the app.

QuickChek; 65.1 percent of Gen Z shoppers gave QuickChek the highest rating of all c-stores. With mobile customer food ordering, half-price and BOGO promotions, younger customers choose QuickChek above any other c-store.

Overall, Generation Z want c-stores to be fast, have easy-to-use technology, and customizable options. They are a unique generation who want the ability to pick up their favorite items how they want them and continue to live fast paced adventurous lives. You can be a part of their journey by always keeping your c-store up-to-date and convenient.

in Building Your Business, Consumer Trends, Industry News, C-Store Trends