Convenience stores are still a long way from providing the customer service that shoppers expect.

That's the verdict of HIM's Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP) study for 2007.
Speaking at the study's launch, HIM director Peter Segal pointed out that shoppers' ratings for measures such as staff friendliness and speed of service in convenience stores had got better over the past year but that there was still room for improvement.
Segal said: "Great customer service provides c-stores with a massive opportunity for differentiation from the major supermarkets. But the CTP shows that some of the important things are still not being done. For example, shoppers reported that on only 30% of occasions did the sales assistant offer to pack the shopping, only 87% of staff said thank you after the transaction, and only 79% said goodbye."
But possibly the biggest area where c-stores can improve is in up-selling, according to Segal, as only 2% of shoppers were informed about a promotion or asked if they wanted to play the lottery.
Product availability is now the number one requirement of shoppers at convenience stores, according to HIM, although there was evidence that out of stocks were being reduced. Segal added: "Shopper expectations are now much higher and people expect good product availability."
The demand for healthy products featured in shoppers' top five wants from their local c-store for the first time.

Top 5 customer needs

1. Availability
2. Great customer service
3. Convenience
4. Value for money
5. Healthy options
Source CTP 2007