If any reader remains unconvinced about the importance of services - or the value of the services shopper - then the following insights from HIM Research & Consulting’s Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP) will help convince you otherwise.

By services we mean mobile phone top-up, utility bill payment terminals, cash machines, the Post Office and even the lottery (both National and Health). 

Services are becoming an expectation. Shoppers these days expect a range of services in their local store and a convenience store is not convenient if it does not have a cash machine, lottery terminal, utility bill payment and so on. And as many supermarket-owned c-stores do not offer these services, it can really act as an additional pull for shoppers.

Services are also a destination category, as the majority of service users are coming from home and returning straight back home. More than half (53%) of service users live within quarter of a mile of the store, so it’s easy to see the importance of promoting services locally through leaflet drops.

Why should retailers consider having services in store? Well, HIM knows that service users visit more times per week compared with the average convenience store shopper. 

The retailer therefore receives the additional footfall and profit from other visits, too, because the services shopper doesn’t usually visit for the service alone. They buy other items and spend more money per visit. 

We know that 40% of service users are on a top-up mission, typically buying newspapers, milk, confectionery and bread. The profile of the services user is slightly more female (67% vs 33% men), and generally have children in the household. 

Nearly 10% of service users say they would probably shop elsewhere (that is, take all their business elsewhere) if their c-store removed services. 

To make the most of them

Keep services clean, accessible and in working order
Actively promote the services to your customers - ask customers if they would like to play the lottery
Display the correct pos to build awareness
Include details of services on leaflets and adverts.