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EUGENE, Ore. — In the future, locking in convenience's position as the cornerstone retail space in any given neighborhood will require striking the right balance between technological innovation, a modular shopper experience, foodservice quality and variety of choices.
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 Refueling & Refreshing Center. For this future store type, CSNews called on Eugene-based design firm King Retail Solutions (KRS) to present its vision.
The Refueling & Refreshing Center will have the potential to become the most fundamental retail resource in the daily lives of consumers, according to Todd Cole, design director for KRS. The most important aspect of this store type, he said, is its versatility.
"The goods are the same, the level of service is the same, but the amount of time they may spend on a transaction with you is up to the shopper. Some days, they may want to swing through; others they may want to spend a few hours," he explained.
KRS envisions the Refueling & Refreshing Center concept consisting of, among other things:
- A built-in ceiling/canopy that blurs the boundaries by creating an indoor/outdoor zone, or an "in-between" realm that makes the site more than an exterior gas station paired with a boxed-in convenience store.
- A micro-format grocery for fresh food and basic offerings.
- Personalized touchscreens for beverage ordering that allow customers to select anything from purified private-label waters to premium beverages, with the option to add flavor boosts, vitamin shots and other health/energy additives.
- A modern growler bar that stocks beer and wine.
Check out CSNews.com all this week for sneak peeks of each Store of the Future prototype.