Organized retail crime (ORC)—defined as professional shoplifting by organized crime rings—is growing, with 83% of 59 merchants surveyed reporting an increase in the past year, according the National Retail Federation’s “12th annual ORC study,” conducted July 20-Aug. 19, 2016.
Sean Sportun, ICPS manager, security & loss prevention for Mac’s Convenience Stores in Canada, noted ORC is an evolving issue for the c-store industry.
While ORC usually targets big box chains with high volume items “what most fail to realize is the c-store/gas industry are the initial target for these groups when it comes to fraud payment cards and robberies,” Sportun said. “C-store retailers must ensure they have a training program in place and that it is current—this will enable employees to combat these crimes and remain safe if they encounter an incident.”
Mac’s is renowned for fighting crime, from inviting communities to take ownership of neighborhood convenience stores by participating in painting a store mural to posting images of thieves to Mac’s Crime Stoppers social media pages, so members of the community can identify them for a reward.
“Mac’s is now being studied by Harvard University on the crime prevention program’s effectiveness in reducing incidents of crime,” Sportun said. The Harvard Business Study should be available this summer.
Mac’s is also using a Tobacco Tracker program to monitor stolen tobacco cartons—a “huge success,” both in the recovery of assets and in the apprehensions of suspects. Security expert Chris McGoey, president of McGoey Security Consulting, said while ORC is an age-old issue, the label is often overused, especially in relation to convenience stores.
“What’s happening (at c-stores) is plain old shoplifting. It’s the same old story: if you have one person on duty and that person is overworked, they’re not going to be able to pay attention to potential shoplifters,” he said.
McGoey said he sees theft overall trending upward. There are more items today, more inventory issues to contend with and products are more expensive—which means theft dollar totals are higher—all contributing factors.
C-stores must also contend with employee theft. The “28th Annual Retail Theft Survey” conducted June 2016 by loss prevention consulting firm Jack L. Hayes International, found one out of every 38 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2015. The survey was based on approximately 3 million employees.
“The convenience industry is hit particularly hard with employee theft because of the nature of a c-store. They’re designed to be operated by one person often times without supervision,” McGoey said.
Mac’s is using technology to help matters.
“The loss prevention department implemented a variety of preventative measures to identify this type of crime, but our most effective initiative has been the introduction of our 24/7 monitoring room, which has the ability to remote access into stores through the DVR system,” Sportun said.
While ongoing advancements in video surveillance ability and quality continue to improve, McGoey warned some retailers invest too much capital in technology and then fail to use it, thinking just having the technology is a deterrent. McGoey said sticking to the basics of counting inventory, implementing cash controls, hiring and training well and monitoring customers are crucial in preventing theft. (read more)
Giving consumers the quick options they want
Snacking continues to be a popular meal-period option, and with more than three-quarters of convenience store customers visiting to buy snacks, it is crucial that retailers get it right. So what are your customers looking for? According to Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, more than half of consumers say portability is key.
Portability is influenced by size, shape, packaging and ease of purchase. According to NACS, 83% of goods purchased at c-stores are consumed within an hour and an impressive 60% are eaten immediately. What’s more, the top five dessert snacks are all packaged and portable, including cookies, ice cream, brownies, frozen treats and cupcakes, according to Technomic data.
So why not give your customers the kind of quick options they want? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Capitalize on All-Day Breakfast
Portable, packaged breakfast pastries make great grab-and-go snacks throughout the day. Portable baked goods appeal to consumers looking for small, easy-to-eat indulgences. Consider offering items such as Danishes, muffins, cinnamon rolls and bear claws near the register for quick convenience.
Go for Bundles
With more c-stores amping up their coffee programs, packaged snacks (especially premium baked goods) make the perfect complement. Market coffee-and-a-snack deals for all customers, or offer them as a loyalty reward. Some 57% of younger consumers say the availability of breakfast combo meals influences their decision to visit a foodservice establishment, according to Technomic data. Similarly, be sure to merchandise bakery snacks by the coffee bar to increase bundled purchases.
Cater to Hispanics
As the Hispanic population grows, so does the purchasing power of this important consumer group. As this demographic is comprised of heavy c-store users, Hispanic consumers are a big opportunity for c-stores. Offer a selection of packaged authentic Mexican pastries, as Hispanic consumers over-index on c-store bakery items. In fact, while 77% of all c-store foodservice patrons buy bakery items once a month or more, that number jumps to 87% for Hispanics, according to Technomic data.
Consumers are receptive to bold, spicy flavors. Fill the roller grill with flavor-packed global snacks like egg rolls, spicy bread sticks and more. Consider offering an easily accessible line of flavor-packed condiments for hotdogs and other grab-and-go handhelds.
Drink It Up
With more female c-store customers seeking healthy, portable snacks, expect to see a jump in drinkable yogurt sales and other protein-packed drinks. Brands such as Chobani, Dannon and Yoplait all have no-spoon-needed yogurt drinks on the market.
Consumers continue to seek out indulgent snacks. Some 59% of consumers say they indulge when snacking, according to IRI data. Technomic reported that the desire to treat oneself is one of the biggest motivators for snack purchases, second only to hunger. Consumers are likely to purchase indulgent snacks in the afternoon, as studies show consumers are more willing, and more successful, at rationalizing a treat later in the day.
There is an opportunity to maximize indulgent snack sales throughout the day by placing popular impulse items in key positions around your stores. Play up seasonal craveability with holiday treats featuring peppermint or caramel flavors. Look for bite-sized indulgent snacks offered in cups or resealable bags, which are perfectly suited for grab-and-go impulse items.
As snacking continues to grow, and as consumers seek out craveable flavors, the opportunity for boosting snack sales grows, too. Prairie City Bakery has a variety of portable, mouthwatering snacks to entice impulse purchases in your store. For more information, visit Prairie City Bakery here. read morehttp://www.cspdailynews.com/category-news/snacks-candy/articles/6-tips-boosting-snack-sales
For Immediate Release: January 28, 2016
Almost 10,000 c-stores reside in Sunshine State, third most in the nation
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, a division of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), reports that the convenience store count in both Florida and the U.S. continued to increase as 2015 set a record for the total number of stores. Florida’s convenience stores increased from 9,737 in 2014 to almost 10,000 in 2015, which ranked third among all states according to the 2016 National Association of Convenience Stores/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.
“The convenience store industry in Florida continues to see incredible growth as more drivers rely on the time-saving ease these stores offer drivers to get food, drinks, supplies and gasoline every day,” said FPMA Executive Director Ned Bowman. “Florida’s economy continues to improve and support our industry, and we’re proud of the work FPMA does each year with state and local government to ensure our state’s convenience stores are more environmentally friendly and safer for employees and customers.”
From 2011 to 2015, Florida’s convenience store count increased from 9,348 to 9,910, an increase of more than six percent. Among the states, Florida ranked third behind Texas (15,607 stores) and California (11,540), with New York (8,446) and Georgia (6,765) rounding out the top five. In the past year, the total number of convenience stores nationally increased by more than 1,400 for a total of 154,195.
Within the retail universe that Nielsen tracks, convenience stores account for 34.2% of all outlets in the United States, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including superettes, supermarket and supercenters (51,055 stores), drug stores (41,969 stores) and dollar stores (27,378 stores). Overall, 80.7% of convenience stores (124,374) sell motor fuels.
The convenience retailing industry continues to be dominated by single-store operators, which account for 63.1% of all convenience stores (97,359 stores total) and 74.3% of store growth in 2015.
The convenience retailing industry has roughly doubled in size over the last three decades. At year-end 1985, the store count was 90,900 stores, at year-end 1995 the store count was 101,100 stores and at year-end 2005 the store count was 140,665 stores.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONVENIENCE STORES
Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 152,000 stores across the country, posted $698 billion in total sales in 2014, of which $483 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.