Convenience retail is arguably experiencing its biggest ever shake-up. Consolidation across the market creates an element of uncertainty, and with the rising demands of shoppers comes a greater need for the sector to adapt quickly to trends, writes HIM’s Giorgio Rigali.

But is it all doom and gloom for a sector that is forecast to see consistent growth over the next five years? Absolutely not! Is there still room for independent convenience stores? Absolutely! The pressures will cause numerous challenges to retailers, but there is a wealth of opportunity for independent players to tap in to.

On average, shoppers visit c-stores more than three times a week, creating plenty of openings for retailers to boost their sales and increase basket size. However, these visits last less than five minutes each time, so the opportunity to interrupt and influence is minimal. In fact, we know from our Convenience Display Effectiveness research that retailers have only 0.9 seconds to make a shopper notice a display. So how can you influence your customers in under five minutes?

Mission-led merchandising can be key to driving higher basket size and spend. It not only gives you the opportunity to upsell into other categories and promote more premium labels, it also creates a more convenient shopping experience, which can help increase loyalty and footfall frequency.

Mission-led merchandising isn’t the only way for retailers to tempt or inspire shoppers. Some 77% of convenience stores use secondary locations to drive awareness and penetration towards a category.

The use of innovative and well-placed secondary locations will distract shoppers and tempt them into an impulse purchase and incrementally improve sales. With 38% of impulse purchases being made due to temptation, there is a large opportunity here. Alcohol and soft drinks are the two best-performing categories when it comes to secondary locations, generating the most incremental sales.

Understanding the key methods of influencing a shopper while in store will enable you to build a robust strategy and achieve optimal growth in the future. Failure to act on this will hinder your ability to maximise growth.