How to Get More Female Shoppers to Your C-Store

How to Get More Female Shoppers to Your C-Store - GSP

C-stores know Bubba well, that infamous blue-collar male in his 30s. However, two new studies are providing fresh insight into the mind of the elusive female convenience store shopper. So, let’s take a minute to meet Betty.

The new stats:

TrendSource’s 2018 Convenience Store Industry Report says 55% of women visit c-stores at least once a week (vs. 64% of men). The 2018 Convenience Store News Realities of the Aisle study breaks it down even further. 11% of women say they shop “almost every day”. 44% of women say they stop in two to three times a week.

Women’s C-Store Trips at A Glance

What they buy:

  • Gas: 74%
  • Packaged salty or sweet snacks: 61%
  • Prepared food: 48%
  • Packaged beverages: 47% (vs. 38% men)
  • Candy or gum: 37% (vs. 27% men
  • Fountain or frozen beverage: 36%

When they shop:

Female shoppers are most likely to stop at a c-store between 4 and 7 p.m. (52%), when they’re on the way home from work or shuttling kids from school to practice and games. The 7 to 10 p.m. time frame (34%) and early mornings from 6 to 9 a.m. (33%) were also popular, so building your daypart menu can have a positive effect on driving repeat business.

Why they won’t shop:

  1. The top reason why female shoppers will not stop at a c-store? Safety. 80% of women rate safety as “very” or “extremely important” when selecting a store, according to the TrendSource report.
  2. Once women feel safe, however, they are loyal. 63% say they shop at the same c-store every time.
  3. Women are picky about the quality of prepared food. Only 38% rate it as good quality. It could be because 79% of female c-store shoppers say they are health-conscious. So “better for you” food options are more likely to appeal to them.

How to Help Women Feel Safe At Your Store

To help customers feel more comfortable and secure in the retail environments we design, GSP recommends the following creative marketing strategies:

  1. Ensure you have clear sight lines. People fear what they can’t see. They won’t feel as isolated if they can see some distance away. They know that others will be able to see them if they need help. Try not to block all of the windows. Also consider testing see-through window film POP made of perforated vinyl that lets customers see out to their cars. It still allows you big advertising impact and even provides some shade on those windows that let in a lot of sun.
  2. Remember the “butt-brush” theory. In his book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, author Paco Underhill states that women stop shopping and will leave the store when someone – or something – brushes against their behinds. Make sure your aisles aren’t so narrow that two people can’t pass by without knocking over merchandise.
  3. Use wayfinding signs to make the journey easy. Ensure your store layout is easy to follow with wayfinding signs that call out strategic “landmarks.” For example, add a big sign over your fountain beverages. Make it memorable and visible from the door so the safety-aware customer can easily locate it. Also remember that your female customer may be traveling with children who want to grab a frozen beverage “by themselves.” Mom will still want to be able to supervise from a short distance.
  4. Be a welcoming brand. Help the shopper feel welcome and she may forget her fears. The welcoming can start before she even enters the store. Use a friendly voice in your pump topper POP and start speaking to her at the pump when you have her attention (since you already know she’s 74% likely to be there). Of course, she’ll also feel more comfortable if the area is clutter-free. Fun displays, music and positive interactions with employees in store will also help your female customer relax and feel like lingering longer. You can also try catering to women’s needs. 7-Eleven just added a new private label cosmetics line.
  5. “Think like a butler, not like an advertiser.” This very insightful quote came from Google Creative Director Rudy Anggono’s speech at ShopTalk 2018. He also said, “We have noticed a shift in consumer behavior in the past few years, from ‘tell me where to find an item’ to ‘help me figure out what to buy.’” In this age where customers look to Yelp and Amazon reviews for guidance, Anggono recommends making your POP more advice-oriented. For example, his company changed its usual “50% off Valentine’s Day” ad to “Today is Feb. 14. Guys, do not forget. Get her something nice. 50% off.” Although obviously not directed towards women, it’s definitely an approach that all of your busy, distracted shoppers would appreciate.

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