We provide retail branding and marketing services with a focus on site-specific execution to help transform your growth strategies into store-level success. GSP highlights best practices and industry trends you can use to strengthen in-store branding, marketing and visual merchandising.
As consumers demand more low-carb and keto-friendly options, manufacturers continue to deliver. With new keto products recently increasing by 76 percent and this Technavio study predicting the keto global market to register a CAGR of nearly 5% by 2023, the keto crazy doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. C-store retailers can easily drive sales of low-carb, high-protein and high-fiber packaged snacks and menu items. Here’s how.
Engage Customers With Effective Signage – Start with food photography that lets shoppers know they can count on your c-store for keto-friendly options that taste as good as they look. Make sure signage is visible from the pump and street with lettering that’s quick and easy to read. Let low-carb customers know you offer wings and salads with signage that speaks to them. Include messaging such as “Keto Options Available” or “Fuel Your Low-Carb Cravings Here!” on both outdoor and indoor signage.
Educate Your Customers – Create takeaway cards, tent cards or standees featuring info on how to maintain a low-carb lifestyle. This is a great way to spotlight items customers can purchase without derailing their diet. Showing you’re the c-store that cares gives customers another reason to return to your store.
Group Items Together – Make high-protein bars, beverages and snacks like string cheese and ready-to-eat hard-boiled eggs easy to locate by keeping them together. Develop a keto cooler or kiosk allowing customers to quickly grab what they’re looking for as well as discover additional or new low-carb offerings. Items that don’t require chilling can be kept alongside your keto cooler.
Promote Perfect Pairings – The quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey states that 22 percent of retailers expect healthy packaged snacks as well as fruits and vegetables to drive sales. Why not run keto-friendly promotions by pairing meat and cheese snacks or salads with sugar-free beverages and/or energy drinks. Alert customers of special offers via social media or signage.
Create an Event-Specific Pop-Up Shop – Help sponsor a local race or fitness-related event. Create a branded tent or pop-up shop featuring your hottest selling protein-packed snacks, beverages and bars. Attendees will most likely post photos on their social media pages and remember your store as the local low-carb go-to long after the event is over.
From professional food photography to impactful design, our experts can help you create powerful signage, visual merchandising and more to drive your foodservice, beverage and snack sales.
Every second Sunday in May, consumers celebrate their moms with cards, flowers and gifts on Mother’s Day. Not only do these shoppers buy for Mom, they purchase items for sisters, sisters-in-law, friends, aunts and cousins, resulting in an estimated $25 billion dollars in revenue. Check out these NRF Mother’s Day spending insights.
This year, 84 percent of consumers plan on purchasing a gift for their mothers.
As with most holidays, Mother’s Day spending continues to grow – this year’s spending tops years prior at an estimated $25 billion, up from $23.1 billion in 2018.
More than 80 percent of shoppers admit they depend on retailers for gift-giving ideas and inspiration.
Shoppers ages 18-34 prefer gifts that keep on giving – 34 percent are interested in gifting a product subscription service such as Birchbox.
Though flowers are still a popular planned purchase, personal services such as spa days have grown from 16 percent 10 years ago to about 25 percent today – spending on these gifts has nearly doubled at $2 billion total.
For shoppers 18-34, experiences matter most – 45 percent say they’ll gift their favorite moms concert tickets or gym memberships, and 29 percent of mothers that age prefer experience-style gifts.
With Star Wars Day arriving on a Saturday and Cinco de Mayo on a Sunday, May 4th weekend gave retailers and QSRs two reasons to celebrate and customers cool ways to save. Let’s recap.
May the Fourth Be With You – Star Wars Day Specials
What started as a fun pun between Star Wars fans is now a full-on holiday recognized annually on May 4 by fans, the Star Wars franchise and plenty of retailers. Here’s how retailers celebrated Star Wars Day on Saturday.
Amazon gave fans 20 percent off on Hasbro Star Wars merchandise.
Build-A-Bear offered customers up to 50 percent off its Star Wars bears.
Cicis provided $4 unlimited buffets with the purchase of an adult buffet and large drink.
Disney Store gave away Phantom Menace pins and the first 50 shoppers to make a purchase received a free Phantom Menace lithograph.
Disney Theme Parks featured special events at Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Hallmark offered a fourth off selected Star Wars merchandise plus a free pin set with the purchase of $15 or more on select Star Wars items.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop gave away a free cookie with purchase.
Steak ‘n Shake ran printable coupons for $2-off Steak ‘n Shake Meals.
Yesway created a cool May the $4 Combo just for Star Wars fans.
May the 4th Be with You! Today, @starwars fans across the world celebrate the epic films. Luckily you don’t have to go to a galaxy far, far away to grab our special $4 Combo Deal! pic.twitter.com/dWBN1oKYbQ
Moe’s promoted the holiday all week with #CincoDeMoes. The Mexican food chain gave Uber Eats customers spending $10+, a free HomeWrecker burrito and free shirts to the first 50 people who visited Moe’s through May 5.
7-Eleven waived delivery fees on beer orders in cities where it offers delivery.
Tijuana Flats gave away two tacos and a beer for $5 throughout the weekend.
Yesway celebrated with Modelo specials promoted on Twitter.
To most, convenience store fare is known as quick, easy and simple. However, according to various publications and awards, this c-store grub is borderline gourmet.
Buc-ee’s Brisket Becomes a Barbeque Fan Favorite
Founded in 1982, this Texas-based convenience store chain may only have 35+ locations throughout Texas and Alabama, but it sure has a diehard cult fan following. Buc-ee’s stores feature a beef jerky bar, freshly-made fudge and is famous for its barbeque brisket sandwich, which Food & Wine describes as “… Probably better than the barbecue where you live.”
Cumberland Farms Café-Style Creations
This 80-year-old c-store chain operates approximately 600 stores in eight states and recently made the news for exploring sale opportunities. Additionally, Cumberland Farms announced its new Starbucks-style food offerings, such as such as its delectable spinach and feta sandwich and mouthwatering macchiato. David Heilbronner, the company’s director of brand strategy and advertising told the Worcester Business Journal, “It is a significant investment … It’s worth it for us. It’s more getting into the food business, or like a quick-service restaurant.”
7-Eleven Brings C-Store Innovation to Dallas
7‑Eleven, Inc. celebrated the grand opening of its first-ever U.S. lab store in Dallas on March 22. Serving up made-to-order smoothies and agua frescas, on-tap kombucha, upscale street tacos on handmade tortillas and baked-in-store cookies and croissants, this innovative 7-Eleven lab location doesn’t disappoint. Customers can fill up on local craft beers at the growler refill station as well as kick back on the outdoor patio.
The Wonderful Wawa Hoagie
With more than 800 locations throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C., this 50-year-old convenience store chain made history by becoming the first c-store to win the best U.S. sandwich shop. According to Market Force Information’s 2018 survey of nearly 11,500 consumers, Wawa beat out heavy hitters such as Jersey Mike’s, Subway and Firehouse Subs.
GSP has 40+ years of retail experience, let us help you drive your foodservice sales and earn your c-store eats the recognition it deserves.
According to the NRF, 80 percent of Americans celebrate Easter and spend an average of $21 per person on sweets such as chocolate, jelly beans and more. Read on to discover some surprising Easter candy facts and retail stats.
Easter Spending Once Surpassed Halloween. In years past, Easter has beat out Halloween candy sales, however this years’ $2.49 billion candy forecast indicates sales are down from $2.63B last year.
Easter Baskets Are a Family Favorite. 87% of parents plan to prepare a basket for their kids this holiday.
Those Who Don’t Celebrate Will Purchase Candy. Even though not everyone celebrates Easter, 33% of those not participating in the holiday say they’ll still buy candy.
What’s in the Basket? When it comes to sweet Easter basket treats, it’s no surprise chocolate rules at 89% with fruit-flavored candy following at 46% and gum and mints accounting for 35%.
Chocolate Bunnies Rule the World. 90 million chocolate bunnies are made worldwide every Easter and 90% of Americans will include them in their Easter baskets.
America’s Least Favorite Easter Candy. Of the more than 23K CandyStore.com website visitors surveyed, Cadbury Crème Eggs topped the list as the worst Easter candy. Cadbury Mini Eggs, however, were named the most popular Easter candy.
It’s no secret that corporate responsibility and sustainability drives customer loyalty, increases sales and is especially important to millennial shoppers. Here’s a look at what these popular retailers are doing to show shoppers they’re serious about sustainability.
The H&M group is comprised of nine brands – H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, H&M Home, ARKET and Afound. In 2013, the H&M group banned per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in clothing, accessories and shoes and are part of POPFREE – a two-year project with the overall goal to create a transition in sectors using PFAS to feasible non-fluorinated alternatives. The H&M group’s goal is to use 100 percent recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Today, the retailer’s at 57 percent – up from 35 percent since last year. For the past six years, the H&M group has collected 78,000 tons of clothing via customer donations at stores around the world.
The Swedish furniture retailer has switched its entire lighting range to energy-efficient LED and is sourcing all the cotton used in its products from more sustainable sources. Like the H&M group, Ikea is working toward 100 percent renewable energy—producing as much as it consumes in operations—and sourcing all its wood from more sustainable sources by 2020. The IKEA Group and IKEA Foundation have made new commitments adding up to $1 billion for climate action. According to Ikea’s 2018 report, sustainability highlights include: growing home solar customers by 230 percent, owning approximately 180K hectares of responsibly managed forests and saving more than 389K kgs of food.
Lush Cosmetics, an all-natural bath and body brand, is dedicated to eco-friendly products and practices. Lush offers free products to customers who bring in empty product packaging to recycle and makes solid shampoo bars that help reduce packaging waste. To date, the retailer has invested roughly $5.1 million in community agroecology projects in more than 21 countries as part of the Sustainable Lush Fund. Lush’s commitment to sustainability also includes a strong recycling program and discounts to customers who donate clothing.
Though the company admits that they may never reach 100 percent, they’re sure all doing all they can to get there. For nearly 40 years, Patagonia has supported grassroots activists working to find solutions to the environmental crisis. The company commits one percent of sales to Patagonia Action Works program. What’s more, the retailer was one of 138 companies that participated in Time to Vote – a campaign that spreads awareness about the steps employers can take to help their employees set aside time to vote. Patagonia’s first-ever TV commercial aired in 2017 and encouraged customers to take a stand to help defend America’s public lands.
The c-store is dedicated to reducing its impact on the environment by strategically investing in several energy and sustainability programs that increase efficiency and reduce waste and resource consumption. The company has implemented several innovative measures, like LED lighting, energy management systems and high-efficiency HVAC units. As a result, 7‑Eleven has reduced annual CO2 emissions by an estimated 300K metric tons and decreased annual electricity use by 21 percent. Additionally, the company continues to look for ways to improve product packaging by creating environmentally-friendly packaging.
Following pressure from customers and environmental groups, Trader Joe’s has been actively reducing its packaging waste eliminating more than one million pounds of plastic from its stores. Trader Joe’s sustainability plan includes selling less produce wrapped in plastic, swapping out Styrofoam trays with recyclable PET1 trays, replacing plastic shelving and flower bags with renewable alternatives, and no longer using foil and plastic pouches for its tea bags. In 2018, Trader Joe’s donated nearly $370 million dollars of product, which equates to approximately 72 million pounds of food or 60 million meals to fight hunger.
Walmart recently announced its plan to reduce plastic waste, as well as, promote its use of consumer-friendly recycling labels. By 2025, the retailer’s goal is to achieve 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for its private brands by labeling all food and consumable private brand packaging with the How2Recycle label by 2022. Additionally, Walmart intends to remove one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas from its global supply chain by 2030 with its involvement in Project Gigaton.
GSP continues to seek ways to recycle, conserve natural resources and reduce material waste and emissions as well as helps companies reduce print overages and more. To learn more, contact us today.
With stores like Gymboree, Payless and Victoria’s Secret making headlines for closing, it’s refreshing to learn other retail chains are growing and/or remodeling. From convenience to clothing, these stores are alive and well and expanding across the U.S.
With plans of opening more than 2,500 stores by 2022, Aldi is set on becoming the third-largest U.S. grocer by store count. This puts Aldi right behind Walmart and Kroger. Last summer, Forbes reported that Aldi’s strategy includes expansion in more suburban, middle- and upper-middle-class neighborhoods.
American Eagle Outfitter
American Eagle is seeing a steady increase in both online and store sales prompting the opening of 50 to 80 Aerie intimate apparel stores this year. The company is especially focused on expanding throughout Texas and California.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble is opening several new, stylishly designed smaller-footprint prototype stores with comfy seating and self-serve tablets and kiosks. Nine are already opened and the bookstore chain plans to add 10 to 15 next year.
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. CSP reports that Love’s is scheduled to open more than 40 new locations this year, bringing its total store count to more than 500 sites nationwide. In 2018, the company opened 35 new travel stop locations and 2,900+ truck parking spaces. What’s more, Love’s plans on adding thousands of new truck parking lots as well as expanding on-site truck and tire care services.
TJX Companies: T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and Home Goods
TJX Companies, the parent of T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, and Home Goods added 28 new T.J. Maxx, 34 Marshall’s and 85 Home Goods stores in 2018. The company plans to have 3,000 T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s U.S. locations, up from about 2,250 stores currently with the number of Home Goods stores nearly doubling to 1,400. Expect several dozen new stores from the company in 2019.
Target has announced 23 new store openings for 2019, most of which are small-format locations. Last year, Forbes mentioned the company was looking to open 30 of the smaller stores while remodeling close to 325 stores this year.
TravelCenters of America
Acquisition plans are driving TravelCenters of America’s goal to add 20 travel centers to its network this year. “Though there is nothing yet far enough along to claim a win, we have a handful of potential targets under discussion for evaluation,” Barry Richards, TA president and chief operating officer told CS News.
Over a year ago, QuickTrip announced plans to add more than 100 stores in the San Antonio and Austin, Texas region. Although the company has 130 locations in the Dallas area, San Antonio Express-News reported that QuickTrip chose San Antonio and Austin due to the area’s population growth and number of commuters.
Since February, Ross Dress for Less opened 22 Ross Dress for Less and six dd’s Discounts stores across 12 different states. According to Chain Store Age, the retailer is planning to open 75 Ross and 25 dd’s Discounts locations. The chain currently operates 1,745 Ross and dd’s Discounts locations across 38 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.
Green Zebra Grocery
Oregon’s healthy convenience store startup, Green Zebra Grocery, plans to open 400 locations within the next 10 years. The chain currently has three stores in Portland with another in the works and hopes to have 20 stores by 2020. “Landlords and developers like our small store model,” the company’s CEO Lisa Sedlar told Specialty Food News. “They see it as an anchor amenity in their developments; we see it as an anchor amenity in the neighborhood,” she added.
Are you a retailer looking to remodel, refresh or expand? GSP is here to help. Contact us today to hear how we can assist with branding, retail environments, rollouts, marketing and more.
With more than 153K convenience store operating in the U.S., it’s nice to know that your local c-store is doing more for your community than simply serving up coffee and snacks. From scholarships to feeding the hungry – here’s a look at what some of today’s leading retailers such as Circle K, Pilot Flying J and Wawa are doing to help the neighborhood.
CEFCO CEFCO supports education through its C.E. Fikes Endowed Scholarships as well as healthcare and medical research through a variety of partnerships and fundraisers. CEFCO’s in-store balloon sales programs and annual golf tournaments have helped the company make significant donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Habitat for Humanity.
Casey’s General Store “We believe in neighbors helping neighbors,” states Casey’s General Store charitable-giving page. “That’s why we’re committed to helping local organizations make a difference in their communities.” The Iowa-based c-store proudly contributes to organizations through sponsorships, food and monetary donations as well as offers fundraising cards to assist non-profit youth organizations.
Circle K This corporate giant with the huge heart helps financially sponsor and support a lengthy list of causes including the Make a Wish® Foundation, the Red Cross, cancer research, children’s charities, disaster recovery aid, Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, the United Way and the March of Dimes, just to name a few. Additionally, hundreds of Circle K stores raise money for schools through its Fueling Our Schools donation program and once a year, on Fuel Up Night, the company celebrates with its communities and makes a generous donation.
Cumberland Farms From feeding the hungry and serving the disabled to supporting local libraries and schools and fundraising with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for its 18th straight year, Cumberland Farms is known for giving back to the community. The company launched its 6th annual Cups for Kids fundraising campaign, a month-long fundraiser that benefits pediatric care programs at five regional hospitals throughout the Northeast – including Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
7-Eleven It’s challenging to find a cause the world’s largest convenience store chain isn’t supporting – you name it … Military, women, children, the environment, this c-store is actively involved with helping all the communities it serves. 7-Eleven has its own charitable programs including: Project A-Game, a community outreach program that offers youth development opportunities through education, fitness, safety and hunger relief, as well as, 7-Eleven Operation Chill program, the company’s community outreach program designed to reduce crime and enhance relations between police and youth.
MAPCO Established in 2017, the MAPCO Giveback Program raises funds to benefit local children’s non-profits and charitable events within the MAPCO footprint. The MAPCO Giveback Tournament offers its partners the opportunity to help the company through a variety of sponsorships.
Pilot Flying J Pilot Flying J was founded by a veteran and proudly employs and serves veterans. “We support programs that represent the values upon which this company was built and are honored to be able to sponsor and support causes that help communities thrive,” says a message from Jimmy Haslam, CEO on the company’s website. Pilot Flying J’s Fueling Life’s Journeys program supports 20+ nonprofit organizations including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, Hire Heroes, Teach for America and Trucking Cares Foundation.
Thorntons Passionate about giving back to the communities where its employees and guests live and work, Thorntons team members volunteer via community service, humanitarian day events, and fundraising projects. Additionally, Thorntons local stores focus its efforts on ending childhood hunger in America. The company welcomes nonprofit organizations to contact them for sponsorship consideration.
Yesway Through a partnership with Operation Homefront, Yesway supports, honors, and meets the needs of current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. The Iowa-based retailer makes a lump sum donation as well as donates a portion of every Yesway-branded spring and purified water sold in its stores.
Wawa The Wawa Foundation is committed to building strong communities. The company supports health by sponsoring life-saving research and care for people in need, leading hunger relief efforts and helps local military, veterans, first responders and other heroes. The Pennsylvania-based c-store chain also proudly partners with the American Red Cross.
Are you a retailer looking to get the word out about your charity efforts or
fundraising event? Contact us for help with branding, graphic design services, signage and more.
Convenience stores are responsible for an estimated 80 percent of all fuel purchased in the U.S., and with fuel accounting for 38 percent of c-stores profits, store owners are always on the lookout for ways to convert these fuel-only purchases into food and beverage purchases. Read on for tips and tricks on how to increase your c-store foot traffic.
What are your top three tips for creating the most effective c-store signage?
Break through the clutter with white – the world is a sea of color, so it’s important to choose backgrounds accordingly. Understand where you’re placing your signs – make sure signage is in the appropriate zone. Craft your message according to signage type and store real estate. You only have seconds to catch your customers’ attention, be sure to position fast-read messages where suitable.
How can c-stores better engage customers at the pump?
The pump is where your captive audience resides – here’s where you want to offer up the perfect combination of informative and educational signage. Your signs increase awareness of both your brand and your latest promotions. Choreograph your story through various sign types. You can create even more impact using motion, video and/or crash hoops.
What are some tips you’d suggest for stores looking to increase foot traffic from the pump to the store?
This is the most challenging dilemma for all marketing gurus in this industry … Use the pump area for rewards messages, tell and/or tease your story here. Why not use video to whet your shoppers’ appetite. Cater to your customers’ cravings with food photography positioned on store windows or placed near the pump and highlight daily or timely offers.
Name the most common mistakes c-stores make when placing signage in fuel areas.
Keep it simple! Convenience store retailers often mix too many messages. Deciding whatyou want to stand for is key. Even though the pump area is the place to elaborate and share your story, it’s important to pick your poison and devote this space to one big idea. You can talk pricing, but back it up with details where it makes sense – at the pump.
Please share an example of an effective, compelling in-store campaign you think helped increase c-store sales.
I especially liked a Krispy Kreme launch we developed for Circle K featuring die-cut donuts we created out of dynamic photography and eye-catching graphics. It was truly impactful and filled with motion. Another excellent example of attention-getting signage are the Anheuser-Busch aisle invaders we designed for Circle K. The category managers saw a lift in sales based on our wayfinding signs – it’s a perfect example of designing with purpose.
GSP’s Vice President of Design Services, Steven Cohen helps c-stores, grocery, fashion and specialty stores create branding, retail environments, marketing strategies and signage that drives results. Have a question for Steven? We invite you to continue the conversation – reach out to us today.