Our top five findings from the 2019 ACS Local Shop Report
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has once again published its annual local shop report, and the 2019 edition provides some interesting and valuable insights into the current state of the fuel and retail convenience sector, as well as the emerging trends and themes to hit the sector over the last 12 months.
As ever, the report contains key information that will be of interest to retailers across the country, but we understand that many simply won’t be able to dedicate enough time to study the details for themselves. That’s why, following its release last week, we’ve flicked through every page to pick out our top five findings:
1) Convenience stores continue to make a major contribution
According to the 2019 report, there are currently 46,388 convenience stores across the UK mainland, with 71% of these stores owned and operated by independent retailers, made up by a combination of both unaffiliated and symbol group members.
These stores employ approximately 405,000 people and generated a combined sales revenue of up to £40.3 billion. As such, it’s clear that convenience stores are still playing a major role within the UK economy, both through their own sales and the jobs they create for the local community.
2) Technology is taking centre stage
Technological advancement within the convenience and fuel retail sector shows no signs of slowing, and modern retailers are now regularly looking to take advantage of the latest innovations.
According to the report, 74% of all UK stores now operate with an EPOS solution, while 28% utilise digital signage to advertise to customers. 19% of stores also offer in-store wi-fi, with 13% providing some form of mobile marketing platform/loyalty scheme.
91% of stores also employ a CCTV system, keen to secure themselves, their business and their employees from the rise in retail crime recorded across the country in recent months.
3) No rest for weary retailers
Despite the employment statistics, many retail store owners are still working exceptionally long hours. In fact, just under one fifth of retailers work more than 70 hours per week, with 17% taking no annual leave throughout the year.
A rise in both minimum and living wage rates during the last 12 months, coupled with shrinking profit margins means that many store and forecourt owners feel the need to plug the gaps themselves by working extended hours, while just 8% of employees work a 40+ hour week.
4) Significant investment in UK stores
Despite an apparent commercial squeeze, UK retailers were still keen to make investments in their stores. During the last 12 months, £633 million was invested back into businesses, with an annual investment of £7,181 for independent retailers, £10,716 for Symbol Groups and £27,681 for multiples.
Of the total investment, 11%, or just under £70 million, was invested back into till systems and EPOS, with another 7% (approximately £44 million) invested in full store refits, further evidencing UK stores commitment to preserving the aesthetics of their premises while also embracing the latest technologies.
5) The value of regular customers
Keeping hold of your customers for the long-term appears to be key for modern retailers, with 26% of consumers visiting stores every day. In fact, the average customer visits their local store 3.8 times a week, purchasing approximately 2.31 items every visit for an average total of £6.38.
Despite the regular visits, 28% of customers admit that they don’t know the people running their local shop and do not interact with them during their visits. This suggests that locality plays a key role in returning custom, as well as other aspects such as service quality, efficiency and overall customer experience.
With these insights, you can better contextualise the performance of your own store or forecourt and make changes for the benefit of your business. Harnessing the latest technology plays a key role within this, and our range of retail solutions helps to tackle the challenges facing modern convenience stores and forecourts.
By implementing the latest technology, you can refresh the look and feel of your store while delivering a better overall customer experience. You can easily integrate the latest loyalty schemes and drive exciting promotions with digital signage, while the intuitive evoPOS user interface reduces the training time needed to get new starters up to speed and allows cashiers to process transactions faster. As such, store owners can focus on what really matters, driving growth within their business armed with important sales data such as product popularity and average basket spend.
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