Winning Over Women in C-stores Is Possible

MINNEAPOLIS -- Although men have traditionally been the target of convenience stores, a new study warns retailers not to overlook women shoppers.

According to new research from General Mills Convenience & Foodservice, 66 percent of women visited a c-store during their weekly routine, compared to 69 percent of men. The study, which focused on the differences between women and men, surveyed 474 convenience store food and beverage shoppers, aged 18 to 64, who visited a c-store at least once a month. The online survey was conducted in January.

Women tend to have higher expectations for food in c-stores than men.  For example, 76 percent of women would visit more frequently if fresh, made-to-order food was offered in-store, compared to 68 percent of men. In addition, 71 percent of women would visit more if better-for-you food and beverage choices were available, compared to 62 percent of men.

The study also revealed that 29 percent of women wish food was fresher at c-stores vs. 18 percent of men.

Both female and male shoppers ranked convenience the No. 1 reason to visit a c-store, but certain aspects of the shopping experience are more important to women:

  • Store cleanliness: 63 percent of women vs. 45 percent of men
  • Feeling of safety: 62 percent vs. 44 percent
  • Prepackaged foods are not out-of date: 62 percent vs. 50 percent
  • Low gas prices: 59 percent vs. 38 percent
  • Prepared or hot foods are not stale or soggy: 53 percent vs. 44 percent
  • Clean restrooms: 51 percent vs. 38 percent
  • Uncluttered aisles: 45 percent vs. 29 percent

"Conventional wisdom says that men are the primary convenience store shoppers, but women visit c-stores almost as frequently as men and should not be forgotten by c-store operators. Women are more discerning than men when it comes to shopping at c-stores; they put a greater emphasis on the store environment, shopping experience and greater scrutiny on foodservice items," said Lindsey Shepherd, consumer insights researcher at General Mills Convenience & Foodservice.

"An uncluttered layout with a clean restroom, a well-lit store and parking lot, and quality, fresh food options will appeal to the female shopper. C-stores that can deliver on these factors, while still standing for convenience, will woo women into choosing their store for food on the go," Shepherd added.

Based in Minneapolis, the General Mills Convenience & Foodservice division serves the convenience, foodservice and bakery industries.

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