With the modern shopper having more choice than ever before as to where to do their grocery shopping, it is increasingly important to ensure that convenience stores are providing the best possible shopping experience so shoppers continue to choose this channel as often as they are doing so now, writes HIM’s Gary Shaw.

In terms of what shoppers are looking for from their c-store, it is very much a case of getting the basics right. Looking at our research, carried out across almost all types of stores and all groups of shoppers, cleanliness of store is cited consistently as one of the most important areas that stores need to deliver on if shoppers are to choose them over a competitor.

Ease of shop is another key element that shoppers say is important when they are making the decision about which store to shop in. So making sure the store is easily navigable with wide, uncluttered aisles will encourage shoppers to spend more time in the store and potentially shop more categories as they’re able to move through the store more easily.

Investing in keeping the store clean and tidy and making the shopping experience more pleasant with modern, attractive fittings goes a long way to reassuring shoppers that they can trust the store standards generally. This in turn means shoppers are more likely to buy into margin-building categories such as fresh and chilled products where shoppers need to be confident that the food is handled well.

When they have these basics in place, retailers can also think about how they can invest to take advantage of growing trends such as food to go and the increasing desire for shoppers to eat out. Beyond just investment in cooking and serving equipment, there also opportunities to drive spend by investing in a seating area for shoppers to eat if space allows, for example.

Shoppers who take a seat in-store spend on average 40% more than those who don’t. Look to supplement this with charging stations for mobile phones to encourage shoppers to stay in store even longer.