The Results Are in: Fulcrum Publications Inc. Releases Initial Findings from National Study to Assist Independent Convenient Store Retailers in Canada

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Fulcrum Publications Inc, publisher of the industry leading magazine YCM (Your Convenience Manager) is pleased to announce the initial findings from the first national study in Canada to explore the habits of consumers who purchase products from convenience store retailers. The study also gathered information from independent c-store retailers on their marketplace challenges, as well as their best practices to succeed in this highly competitive retail environment. The research project is co-authored by Fulcrum Publications Inc. and by industry titans Frito Lay Canada, Pepsi QTG Canada, Imperial Tobacco, Wrigley Canada and Nestle Canada. These leading suppliers have enjoyed a long relationship with independent c-store retailers, and the learning gleaned from the seven-month study will benefit both groups.

Much of the satisfaction comes from the simple fact that many consumers visit their convenience store two or three times a week--some drop by every day--meaning the convenience store plays an important role in their daily life. It may be only a few minutes a day, but there's comfort from seeing a regular face behind the counter, and someone who knows your name or acknowledges your presence.

Fulcrum Publications Inc, publisher of the industry leading magazine YCM (Your Convenience Manager) is pleased to announce the initial findings from the first national study in Canada to explore the habits of consumers who purchase products from convenience store retailers.

The study also gathered information from independent c-store retailers on their marketplace challenges, as well as their best practices to succeed in this highly competitive retail environment.

The research project is co-authored by Fulcrum Publications Inc. and by industry titans Frito Lay Canada, Pepsi QTG Canada, Imperial Tobacco, Wrigley Canada and Nestle Canada. These leading suppliers have enjoyed a long relationship with independent c-store retailers, and the learning gleaned from the seven-month study will benefit both groups.

With more than 42,000 convenience and convenience gas sites in Canada, there's great interest in learning what keeps the convenience industry alive and innovative. "Research shows that consumers believe convenience stores, because of their size and nimbleness, can respond quickly to changes, " says Alan Fogel, Group Publisher Fulcrum Publications Inc.. "For many consumers, their convenience store is the first place they'll notice the new flavored drink or chocolate bar or new packaging for mints and so on. Savvy retailers can hype sales by promoting these new products and formats."

Personalized service is a drawing card for many people, according to the research. "Among the findings, consumers said they enjoy a higher level of satisfaction with the personal service from owner-operated convenience stores, as opposed to service from the larger mass merchandisers, drug store chains and grocery stores," says Fogel. "Much of the satisfaction comes from the simple fact that many consumers visit their convenience store two or three times a week--some drop by every day--meaning the convenience store plays an important role in their daily life. It may be only a few minutes a day, but there's comfort from seeing a regular face behind the counter, and someone who knows your name or acknowledges your presence."

The research confirms that people appreciate the convenience of quick service and no lineups. Most consumers are comfortable with the slight premium on some products' categories because of the time convenience and saving of wear and tear on their vehicles if they had to drive to a larger merchandiser outside their home or work location. Another interesting research note shows that c-store visitors are almost equally divided between males and females, with the heaviest users between the ages of 20-40 years.

Fogel notes that "gas chains have upgraded the perception of convenience store industry, and made independents pull up their socks to remain competitive." It helps to be actively involved in their communities. "The good news is that many convenience retailers are community-based leaders," says Fogel. "Many retailers interviewed said they participate in community and charity efforts, cash cheques and give credit...things that keep customers returning day after day."

The results of the first study will be published in an upcoming issue of YCM, the magazine most retailers polled turn to for industry knowledge and trends.

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Russell Hoffman
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