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English Español USA: CBD products and frictionless checkouts, two main trends

Convenience stores are in a transitional moment and must focus on younger consumers when considering the most important issues of the day.

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According to TrendSource’s end-of-year 2019 Convenience Store Industry Report, two of the biggest trends shaping convenience stores’ current and future landscape in the United States are in-store cannabis sales and frictionless checkout technology. Both pivot around generational differences as older consumers prove relatively more resistant than younger ones.

TrendSource’s VP of Business Development Sarah Rowlett noted, “As convenience stores enter the next decade market research will become increasingly important to ensure new initiatives are properly implemented in order to stay ahead in a very competitive landscape.”

One particularly salient issue facing c-stores relates to cannabis products. Though laws have yet to entirely coalesce, savvy operators should already be preparing for a world in which cannabis-derived products, particularly CBD products, will appear on C-store sales floors. And while it might be tempting to assume that such products may alienate current consumers, our report suggests that even non cannabis users are comfortable shopping in a convenience store with such products.

In fact, the only resistance c-store cannabis products seems to come from the silent generation where opposition to cannabis remains firm, but in every younger generation from boomers all the way to the youngest respondents there is comfort if not enthusiasm, according to the study.

Issues surrounding in-store automation similarly break along generational lines with younger consumers proving far more interested in and comfortable with frictionless checkout and other technological innovations. Older consumers, particularly in the silent generation, expressed concern about automation obviating in-store employees – they are uncomfortable with machines taking jobs away from people. While millennials similarly expressed concern about this potential, the majority proved willing to overlook this so long as automation makes their in-store experience more convenient.

As these technologies become table stakes thanks to Amazon Go, c-store operators should begin considering the most efficient and effective ways to begin going frictionless.

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