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Added Thinking: It’s what it says on the tin – convenience

Author: Sarah Holt, Research Director

With the recent selling off of the ‘M Local’ stores by Morrison’s to retail entrepreneur Mike Greene under scrutiny as to whether they made a ‘bad decision’ when buying all the old Blockbuster stores, it made us start thinking about what a convenience brand really needs to deliver to be a success.

Although shoppers are a complex bunch, with multiple factors coming into play when they make a purchase decision, ultimately, when it comes to convenience, we really have to offer convenience. So location must be the one key factor to the success of a convenience store, right? The new owner of the rebranded My Local stores says ‘No’.

Is location the core deciding factor in the success of a convenience store brand? Well to set the scene, we are seeing shopping habits slowing changing away from the typically understood large trolley shop in the big supermarket stores, to a little and often approach, where shoppers can manage their budgets better and have the choice to think about what they fancy on a daily basis. The option to shop like this, with more and more retail outlets on offer, ultimately provides the ‘convenience’ that shoppers want.

With this in mind it feels like the right environment for a ‘My Local’ success story, if they can align missions to outlets and can overcome the barrier of loyalty that shoppers have to other stores. But what might make shoppers choose ‘My Local’ over any other convenience store out there? What will they need to deliver on to meet the needs of today’s switched-on savvy shopper?

Well firstly, fundamentally, what is convenient for one may not be convenient to another, so location in isolation should not be too much of an issue if the other store basics are on point.

  • Can they follow a model that will make the ‘My Local’ store truly local? By making them bespoke to the areas they are in and the shoppers that live there in terms of what they stock and their overall product offering?
  • Can they implement a pricing structure that is appealing to the current savvy shoppers of today? Enabling them a crucial advantage over some of their key competitors
  • Can they get the branding, advertising and communications right – to raise awareness of the key points of difference and provide a reason for shoppers to go and try and break out of their normal routine?
  • Will they get the layout and the look and feel of the stores right? There is a real need to make the shopper journey and store navigation process as intuitive and easy as possible and truly aligned to a convenience shop, rather than a downscaled version of larger store formats that a lot of retailers base their models on; and all this whilst delivering on an exciting and engaging store environment?
  • Can they generate a strong loyalty alliance that can rival some of the other big names? If they deliver on all of the above then hopefully yes.

It remains to be seen if My Local can get right what M Local seemingly got so wrong, but if they do, it should leave us with an exciting new avenue to explore in terms of convenience, in an era where the little and often mind set of shopping is taking a lead. So here’s hoping ‘My Local’ lead the way in the future of convenience shopping.

If you’d like to find out more about our Shopper expertise please contact Noreen Kinsey – Head of Shopper


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