NATIONAL REPORT — The start of the new year meant new trends, new regulations and updated forecasts were top of mind for Convenience Store News readers. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of January, based on reader views:
1) NRF 2019: Focusing on the Customer Experience
Artificial intelligence. Frictionless commerce. Wireless connectivity. Those were just a few of the many technology trends and innovations on view at the National Retail Federation's NRF 2019: Retail's Big Show, held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.
2) Convenience Store Retail Trends: Year in Review & 2019 Outlook
2018 was a year of change for the convenience retail industry — some net positives and some challenging developments. As the new year begins, what will last year's changes mean for the industry in 2019? How can convenience retailers prepare, adapt and thrive in a more consolidated, more competitive environment no longer buoyed by high gas prices?
3) New Year, New Batch of Regulations Across the U.S.
The stroke of midnight on Jan. 1 ushered in a new year, but it also brought with it myriad of new rules that affect the convenience store industry. The changes touch all corners of an operator's business — from foodservice to tobacco to the ever-growing wage battle.
4) What Consumers Want From Convenience Stores Today: Part 1
Consumers rate their experience in purchasing meals and beverages at convenience stores much better than fast-food or fast-casual restaurants in terms of speed of service and overall convenience. The majority also say that ready-to-go/serve-yourself foods, beverages and snacks are their preferred type of foodservice when they shop at a convenience store, according to a newly released Convenience Store Consumer Study by AlixPartners, a global consulting firm.
5) Rutter's Moves Forward With Plans to Add Video Gaming Terminals
Rutter's is looking to expand its offerings at some of its convenience stores with plans to add video gaming to 20 locations. The c-store retailer filed applications with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to bring video gaming terminals to 20 c-stores.
6) Walmart Kicks Off 2019 With Key Moves Around Grocery Delivery & Pickup
The big-box retailer kicked off what it describes as its largest and first-ever cross-platform marketing campaign for Walmart Grocery Pickup. Currently, the service is available nationwide and will roll out to more locations this year.
7) Analysts: Amazon Go Stores Bring in 50% More Revenue Than Typical C-stores
In its quest to out-convenience convenience stores, Amazon Go may even out-earn them, with the potential to be a new multi-billion dollar business for e-commerce retail giant Amazon Inc.
8) Starbucks Expands Delivery Service to Six Cities
In total, Starbucks Delivers will be available in seven U.S. cities this spring and the company remains on track to bring the service to nearly one-quarter of U.S. company-operated stores, Starbucks said.
9) New Convenience Store Offers Drove Strong Sales in 2018
Increased in-store sales in 2018 is driving convenience retailers' optimism into 2019, according to a new industry survey. NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, surveyed convenience store owners across the United States and found that 84 percent saw in-store sales tick up last year. In addition, 62 percent reported an increased in fuels gallons sold.
10) Motiva Partners With GasBuddy to Further GetUpside Loyalty Program
Motiva and technology company GetUpside are partnering with GasBuddy to allow customers to claim GetUpside personalized cash back offers directly through the GasBuddy mobile app. Customers will earn as much as 25 cents per gallon cash back based on their fuel purchase.