A Call to the Convenience Store Industry: Own Convenience
CHICAGO — Uber. Tesla. Amazon. The world around the convenience store industry is changing so rapidly, NACS President and CEO Henry Armour told a packed house at the 2017 NACS Show, and thus it has never been more important for the industry to redefine the definition of “convenience.”
During the show’s day three general session, Armour called on the industry to own convenience, to “own the word that defines us, differentiates us and drives us.” He also shared what NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, is doing to advance the cause.
According to Armour, NACS is focused on three main strategies:
Rebranding includes a new logo for NACS that is bright and fresh and emphasizes the “C” for convenience, as well as a rebranding for the overall industry that drives home the core values and benefits that NACS members deliver to consumers.
“I love the versatility of the C with our rebrand. It certainly stands for convenience, but it can stand for so many other aspects of our industry,” said Armour, citing customers, connections and collaboration.
On the topic of refreshing, NACS’ reFresh initiative is designed to highlight all the positive aspects of the convenience store industry. For instance, NACS was the first retail trade association to become a member of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). It is working with PHA to help convenience stores provide more visibility to healthier choices inside their stores.
NACS also recently became the first retail trade association to develop a partnership with the American Red Cross. NACS activated a direct online link for members to donate. Since Hurricanes Harvey and Maria hit, Armour said the industry has donated $15 million to the Red Cross to date.
A third partnership highlighted by Armour was NACS’ new collaboration with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) to address negative perceptions around trash. NACS and KAB conducted three surveys and audits to learn more about perceptions related to the industry, and introduced a toolkit to help convenience stores better manage trash, litter and recycling.
Finally, when it comes to the strategy of repositioning, NACS is telling the industry’s story to both the media and Congress. Armour pointed to debit reform, menu labeling and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as major victories scored this year thanks to repositioning.
Looking ahead, he urged everyone in the convenience channel to do their part to move the industry forward and spur continual innovation.
“The internet has redefined convenience — you can get items in a couple of days or a couple of hours. As an industry, we must stay focused on giving our customers what they want now,” he concluded.
The 2017 NACS Show took place Oct. 17-20 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.