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TAMPA, Fla. — In the future, convenience stores will evolve into savvy neighborhood markets that listen to their customers whose voices say: give me local flavor; embrace my multichannel retail demand; create an experience that offers tantalizing variety; give me healthy, fresh meals on the go — and make all of this easy and convenient.
In November, Convenience Store News will present a special edition of the magazine centered on the question: What will the "convenience store" look like a decade or more from now? The c-store industry's leading media brand is partnering with some of the top thought leaders and design firms in the nation to give readers a preview at how the convenience store will evolve over the next several years and how it will serve a changing customer base.
Just like today where we see many different types of c-store models in action, the future will be composed of different types of c-stores, each focused on different aspects of the convenience experience and on different customer archetypes. C-stores of the future will likely incorporate aspects of all four of these basic types: The Convenience Restaurant; The Refueling & Refreshing Center; The Neighborhood Market; and The Forecourt of the Future.
Here, we provide a sneak peek of The Neighborhood Market. For this future store type, CSNews called on Tampa-based design firm api(+) to present its vision.
Tom Henken, vice president and director of design for api(+), said small-format shops of the future will highlight sensory experiences to engage shoppers through tasting, smelling, touching and seeing. Increased competition — the ability for consumers of the future to eat virtually almost anywhere — will dictate that c-stores put forward an experience.
"Food should be all about enjoyment," he explained.
api(+) envisions the Neighborhood Market concept consisting of, among other things:
- Smart technologies, eliminating the need for a checkout line.
- Café-like environments.
- Areas that cater to chef-driven cuisine in competition with fast-casual dining.
- Interactive programs that sell products in all their forms — raw, prepared and packaged.
Check out CSNews.com all this week for sneak peeks of each Store of the Future prototype.