In 2016, IBIS World predicts the US convenience store and petrol station market will generate over $324 billion in sales, with slow growth of 4.1% over the next 5 years. The softened economy, cars that use fuel more efficiently, and steep drops in crude oil prices all conspire to slow down growth in this industry. This makes it all the more important that petrol convenience retailers couple competitive fuel prices with superior c-store merchandise and great customer experiences.  

So how do brands fare in this competitive milieu? In our annual US customer experience research, over 10,000 consumers rated their last fuelling experience. One clear finding emerged: Regional players with corporately owned stores beat the majors hands down. These regional players maintained a better image, had better service, and offered fresh food. In the composite loyalty index, shown below, you can see the top players who scored well on both customer satisfaction and likelihood of recommending the brand. Kwik Trip, Quik Trip and Wawa were clear standouts.

Why did these brands fare so well? They:

  • Have excellent ratings for the overall appearance of their sites. They attend carefully to the brand image focussing on a consistent presentation.
  • Attend to some of the details at the fuelling area, like making sure sponges and towels are in place.
  • Have reasonably competitive prices—but not the best prices.
  • Offer fresh, hot food that receives high marks from consumers for quality.
  • Receive high marks for merchandising strategies in their convenience stores with excellent cashier service.

We’ll be releasing more about our research in this space, with results for the UK posted next week. In the meantime, check out our case study profiling how one of the big nationals manages their brand image, or SCHEDULE A BRIEFING to arrange a presentation with the full research results. 

As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.