If you think 2014 was a busy year for the UK convenience industry then we predict 2015 might just blow your mind, writes HIM’s Katie Littler. Dynamic market conditions and a new breed of shopper have created a ‘perfect storm’, which points towards revolution, not evolution, for UK convenience. Get ready for an exciting year!

From our perspective the most exciting development is a new breed of shopper; we call them Generation C(onvenience). The previous generation was driven by price, following the 2009 recession. Generation C expect good prices but demand ‘convenience’ in every sense.

It will be the ‘experience’ and the service which will determine where Generation C shop. The days of driving to out-of-town supermarkets and standing in line at the checkout are disappearing. These shoppers have access to a faster, more personal experience, 24/7, via their smartphones and tablets; they will expect the bricks and mortar shopping experience to replicate this.

Here’s five ways to keep Generation C(onvenience) happy.
1. They want spoonfeeding. Generation C want YOU to tell them what they’re having for dinner/lunch/breakfast/snack. Think about dedicated meal solution displays, meal solutions by day of week, a regular order-ahead service, and meal solutions for different sized families.
2. Don’t waste their time. Service needs to be exceptional. Do you have a service ‘pledge’ or guarantee? You may want to get one.
3. Make their life easier, not just their shopping experience. Services such as click & collect are in growth as traditional footfall drivers shift.
4. Use technology pre-shop, and to promote ‘next shop’. Technology shouldn’t just be used to improve the in-store experience, but also to drive shoppers to your stores (location-driven texting, pre-ordering online) and to continue communication once they’ve left (social media, email campaigns.)
5. New partnerships. Retailers will need to work closely with wholesalers and suppliers to satisfy Generation C. Collaboration will be a big theme.

UK Convenience has an exciting year ahead and HIM wouldn’t want to be anywhere but in the middle of it! Good luck and happy new year to all.