chips

Understanding Consumers Key to Salty Snacks

Whether it’s embracing healthy snacks or sticking with tried-and-true brands, convenience stores must closely monitor sales data to track what their customers are buying in this important core category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Recent consumer research seems to suggest that many convenience store customers looking to buy salty snacks leave the store empty-handed. Knowing

prepaid

Prepaid Profitability Soars

Today’s card capabilities surpass the features offered by many checking accounts. These features include managing prepaid purchases through mobile devices and social media accounts and the ability to make person-to-person transfers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Prepaid cards can be tied to financial services such as remittance and bill payments, but that may mean competing

cash-safe

Sustaining C-Store Security

The newest safes and interactive security systems, including those that tie neatly into a point-of-sale (POS) system, can help operators track cash and monitor employees on a shift-by-shift basis. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Follow the money is good advice when it comes to unraveling conspiracies, but it is even more important when it comes

RollerGrill

Rolling Right Along

Emphasizing quality and a dynamic product assortment has had positive effects on food sales at the roller grill. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Rollers grills can do a lot, but they do not sell for themselves. Managing roller grill food sales is no different from other foodservice categories in that convenience store operators need to

electronic-car-charger

Predicting the Future of Convenience Retailing

From healthy foods to a radical shift in goods and services, retail futurists offer a glimpse of the changing consumer needs that could shape the convenience store industry over the next 10-20 years. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Customers seeking today’s newest phone apps. Electric fueling stations rather than gas islands. Stores that change format

cigars

Building a Profitable Cigar Business

chocolate

Doing Confections to Perfection

Americans aren’t eating out as much as they used to, but they are eating more chocolate, which means the time has come for c-store retailers to rethink, revamp and restock their chocolate sets. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Data from Experian Simmons research group noted that, among chocolate eaters, 56.4% have visited a c-store in

card-security

Securing the Back Office

From PCI compliance to loyalty programs, ensuring customers that their private information is secure and being used appropriately is essential in gaining their trust. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumers trust retailers with vital personal information every day. For their sake—and yours—protect it. It’s not as hard as some may fear. There are some basic

Pizza-Pie-italian-food-19538826-1280-800

Convenience and Versatility Power Pizza

More Americans than ever are eating pizza, according to data from consumer research firm Technomic. A full 41% of respondents to a Technomic survey said that they now eat pizza at least once a week, up from 26% two years ago. Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Americans’ love affair with pizza isn’t likely to end any

Beer_at_a_cstore

Building a Winning Beer Business

The near-term future of beer sales in convenience stores involves flavor, value and craft products geared toward specific age groups. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The good news about beer for c-stores is that consumers absolutely love it. The bad news is that consumers love lots of different types of beer—and there are more places

Five-Hour

Bursting With Energy

Our nation is in the midst of an energy crisis. And it has nothing to do with the price of oil. Sleep-deprived and overworked, Americans crave anything with the word “energy” on the label. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Energy drinks are of course wildly popular, but energy shots—those two-ounce packages loaded with concentrated doses

MEAT

The Facts on Meat Snacks

The meat snack industry has seen unprecedented growth over the past decade. With beef jerky leading the way, the industry has seen double-digit growth in eight of the last 10 years. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Meat snacks like beef jerky, meat sticks, nuggets, pork rinds and more have long been convenience store mainstays, but

CIGARS

Serving Cigar Smokers

Little cigars are gaining a loyal following with older demographics based on affordability. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumption of little cigars, which have lower taxes and fewer marketing restrictions than cigarettes, has increased dramatically over the past three years. And while convenience store retailers can apply the usual merchandising techniques to them, an in-depth

pouches

Proving Profitable with Adult Beverages

Squeezable pouches, which have been the preferred packaging on children’s products for many years, are emerging as a big hit for alcohol marketers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Retail dollar sales of alcoholic beverages in pouches were only $12 million for the 12-month period ending August 2010, according to Nielsen. For the same period ending

HOTDOG

Ethnic Foods Push Roller Grill Sales

Roller grills, the backbone of many convenience store foodservice programs, continue to provide chains with an inexpensive, labor-friendly foodservice concept that allows store operators to expand their fresh food offering. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Discussions about trendy ethnic roller grill items require participants to learn a number of words in Spanish. Now, as retailers

fuel-prices

Controlling Fuel Volatility

With gasoline prices again soaring, convenience store and petroleum retailers are investing in software solutions that can help them manage the business more effectively. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience store operators are feeling the pinch from skyrocketing gas prices, which makes fuel inventory controls even more critical in helping retailers reduce costs and bolster

cigs

Shifting Smokers Spur Category Evolution

As more cigarette buyers switch to smokeless and electronic tobacco products, convenience store retailers juggle SKUs to drive profit.    By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Traditional cigarettes—once the mighty margin maker for retailers—continue to face a rocky road as the tobacco market shifts toward increasing consumer interest in moist smokeless, flavored cigars and electronic cigarettes.

pci

Integrating New PCI Standards

Point-of-sale attacks at merchant locations have highlighted weaknesses in POS systems integration. Most of these attacks can be traced back to remote-access portals that were inadequately secured. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. More than a few c-store operators grow anxious at the mention of anything to do with PCI compliance, and who can blame them.

candy

Opportunities Abound in Candy

Despite the continued economic doldrums, U.S. confectionery sales have grown at a pace of 4.2% annually. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Keeping shelves full of customers’ favorite candy, gum and mint brands may seem like an obvious practice for convenience store category mangers. However, controlling out-of-stocks continues to be the top challenge for c-stores managing

Chicken

Poultry Powers Prepared Food Sales

Whether it’s sandwiches, wraps or wings, chicken’s versatility is driving the foodservice category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Chicken comes about as close as food can to a can’t-miss opportunity for convenience store operators. Chicken’s flexibility—and healthier perception—makes it one of the most popular products in the foodservice industry. And short of handling it unsafely,

smokeless

Seizing Control of Smokeless Tobacco

With new flavors, brand extensions and increased promotional activity, MST sales continue to post strong gains at convenience stores. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The smokeless tobacco category remains strong, and not just because legislators have chased consumers away from cigarettes. New products and flavors combined with competitive pricing, increased promotional activity and effective merchandising

Brats n Burgers edit

Fresh Foods, Fast Service

Burgers, brats and sausages continue to drive sales among core convenience store consumers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Convenience dining is on the rise and the demand for sandwiches is jumping. Americans’ love of burgers, sausage and brats is creating plenty of opportunity for convenience stores, where lunch and dinner solutions anchor the menu. The

cigars

Maintaining Strong Cigar Sales

Despite a demand from adult consumers, retailers are continually forced to defend their right to sell flavored cigars responsibly. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor While tobacco has long been a bread-and-butter product for convenience stores, accounting for millions in individual unit sales and boosting the profits from the average smoker’s market basket, it remains a

Ice-Cream-Sandwich

Dealing with Dairy

A federal program is threatening milk and ice cream prices, which could impact c-store sales. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Even with all of the options that packaged goods manufacturers give consumers today—brands, flavors, package sizes, price points, promotions and much more—ice cream has remained a pretty simple retail category. Enter the federal government. In

Energy Shots edit

Bursting With Energy

The energy shots and drinks market has been on an upward growth trajectory since 2010 and with the improvement in the economy is expected to continue on this growth. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Americans need all the energy they can get their hands on, which goes a long way to explaining the enduring success

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