Retail Trends: Why you should be thinking about how Consumer Missions affect your business

by 09 August 2017

Retail Trends: Why you should be thinking about how Consumer Missions affect your business by Ellie Prior

Changing lifestyles and evolving consumer trends has meant the missions of a convenience shopper are transforming. This change is evidenced by the increasing frequency of convenience store visits, with 59% of consumers visiting twice a week or more, 12% visiting 4 to 6 times a week, and 5% on a daily basis. To ensure convenience retailers maintain regular footfall and gain a competitive edge they must ensure they can cater for all missions.

Some of the consumer missions that convenience retailers must cater for are:

Top up shopping

One of the most prominent missions driving consumers to convenience stores is the top-up shop. Research by Mintel found that 92% of consumers regularly complete some form of top up shopping, and 63% of those missions are completed at convenience stores.

Traditionally consumers would complete a main food shop at a supermarket, then top up at convenience stores. However this behaviour is declining, with 10% of consumers now purely shopping on a top up basis, representing a growing number of consumers preferring to purchase their food and household essentials as and when they are needed. The IGD has predicted that convenience retailing will be the third fastest growing grocery channel by 2022, after online and discounted. Ensuring they provide the essential products that a consumer would generally purchase from their supermarket will help convenience retailers attract this growing customer base.


Newsagent purchases are the second most common shopping mission, accounting for 24% of visits to convenience stores. Over a third of convenience store customers purchase some form of print media, and 27% purchase age restricted items such as alcohol and cigarettes. Despite the decline in print media due to the rise of digital media, it is still a significant mission that convenience retailers will continue to cater for.

Meal for tonight

The ‘meal for tonight’ mission demand has been highlighted by the increase in frequency of store visits; consumers are no longer planning their week ahead for evening meals, either from not knowing their plans, or simply waiting for inspiration. Convenience Store magazine reported that meal for tonight shoppers are the highest spending shopping mission, making it a lucrative mission to facilitate.

Convenience retailers can engage with this mission in a number of ways, whether that is stocking ready meals for customers who don’t want to cook, or ingredients to make a home cooked meal, with 43% of convenience shoppers regularly buying ingredients for a meal for tonight.

Food to go

Food to go has been a dominant trend recently, at the forefront of industry news and becoming a significant market, accounting for 13% of convenience store missions, and driving 890 million shopping trips to convenience stores every year. Research conducted by IGD found that the most popular food to go items are sandwiches, soft drinks, hot drinks, savoury snacks, and sweet baked goods; stocking these items is an effective way of engaging with this growing trend.

So how can I cater for customer missions?

One of the most effective ways to facilitate consumers on multiple shopping missions is via the use of store layouts; clearly displaying all missions catered for, creating a streamlined fluid customer experience.

This can be achieved through product zoning for each mission; Premier Whitstone Village Stores have effectively used this method, implementing product zones for food to go, food for later and top up essentials. Within these categories convenience retailers can group the products typically purchased together; grouping cooking ingredients and meal components, enticing ‘meal for tonight’ shoppers to make additional purchases and increasing basket sizes.

Complemented by store layout, the use of promotions is another approach to attract customers to the store to fulfil their shopping missions. A popular promotion commonly used is the ‘meal deal’, which can be used for a number of missions such as food to go and meals for tonight.

Meal deals for meals for tonight can be adapted throughout the week for the changing consumer needs; during the week, meal deals could include a set price group for ingredients to make meals such as a stir fry or a curry. Then on weekends meal deals could be focused on more treat type product groupings such as pizza and beer or wine.

Convenience retailers can also implement time-specific promotions throughout the week, such as 20% off coffee with a breakfast item during certain times in the morning, and 20% off beer on Friday evenings, enticing shoppers to return for a number of various missions throughout the week.

For more information on how TLM can help you use promotions to increase footfall, just get in touch!

Author: Ellie Prior, Marketing Intern, TLM Technologies

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