Millennials: the demographic juggernaut that is ushering in a whole new ball game for c-stores

Millennials: the demographic juggernaut that is ushering in a whole new ball game for c-storesMillennials, known as the crop of people born between 1980 and 2000, are currently appearing as the effulgent stars in the convenience store firmament. This technology-drenched, nutritionally aware, and multichannel-hopping age cohort is on the threshold of bringing pivotal disruptions in the c-stores shopper demographics. It has been projected by various reliable authorities that by 2017, the Millennials will blow their predecessors, i.e., Baby Boomers convincingly out of the water and emerge as the highest expending consumer brigade in the United States. Accenture Research predicts that by 2020, Millennials will be responsible for approximately 30% of total sales in the retail arena. Naturally, every convenience store operator is big on launching a calculated charm to woo this digitally alive and kicking generation.

Characteristics of today’s Millennials

There is a string of attributes that keeps Millennials at variance with Baby Boomers. Diverging from the Baby Boomers’ outlook, Millennials are much more price-sensitive and like to get pampered by personalized offerings. But they are willing to pay top dollar, if they can find qualities dear to them in an item. Owing to the rough and tumble of their job they do sometimes munch on snacks on the move, but unhealthy eatables are not generally favored by them. Studies reveal that Millennials are really fast in acclimatizing themselves to new technologies; at the same time they follow a hard-headed approach to build opinions about brands. Whether updating status on Facebook or Instagramming a photo or following a Twitter handle, the generation is hyperactive on social networking outlets. Almost all the buying impulses they get are via social media chatter. Knowing the fact that options are aplenty, they have a thing about exploring stores of different formats including convenience stores.

Why c-stores are targeting millennials?

At present, members of this group are passing through the initial phases of their respective careers. In the near future when they will move up the ladder, their income will definitely be on an upward trajectory. As a linear implication, purchasing prowess of the Millennials will also make a big jump. Needless to say, in this propitious scenario c-stores are leaning over backwards to come to grips with the quirks and foibles of the Millennials. Complete rebranding programs are undertaken by c-stores to target this sought-after demographic. 7-Eleven, world’s biggest convenience stores network with over 50,000 stores under its belt, is spearheading the c-store community in making inroads into the minds, hearts, and pockets of the Millennials. Way back in 2009, 7-Eleven had sensed the enormous influence that Millennials would wield in the coming days and initiated an SMS marketing campaign to win over this shopper segment.

Now, in a bid to connect better with the Millennials the company has refreshed its logo and got a major facelift. It is running a grab bag of hard-to-avoid promotions to capitalize on the Millennials. 7-Eleven has introduced specially crafted food items like Corn dog bites or Mozzarella sticks in the snacks category to cater to the busy lifestyle of this group. A great looking coffee bar with fun-filled ambience is a good footfall generator for any convenience store and 7-Eleven has pumped in a breath of fresh air into its bars. Cups are being designed more aesthetically and the coffee branding has been totally reformatted. To match the convenience quotient of ecommerce-driven vacation shopping, 7-Eleven has offered exclusive line of merchandise last Yuletide.

Advanced analytics at the c-store level is playing a huge role in identifying this audience and in refining the sales and marketing tactics to meet their changing demands.