In the second part of their conversation on the convenience store industry, Sumit Kar, Sr. Director of Operations, Vixxo, and Eric Warner, Director of Construction, Vixxo, focused on some of the science involved in addressing layout and aesthetic challenges of today’s ever-evolving stores.
Warner noted the changes in the past ten years in terms of internal store design. “In the old days, there was some paint on the wall and some FRP up to help protect the wall,” Warner said. “Today, you see ceramic tile on the floors. Instead of VCT, you see ceramic or porcelain tile on the walls. Now, when you walk into a convenience store, you’re not left to your own devices; you walk in, look up, and see exactly where you need to go.”
“The entire convenience industry is transitioning from the art to the science of it,” Kar said. “The physical layout is scientifically planned. The design stimulates buying and increases sales on products with higher margins. What is important to customers is how does their experience feel? Are they comfortable, do they feel safe, is the environment clean, and is everything operational?
With COVID-19 impacting every facet of the business world, how has the convenience industry dealt with the changes? “Convenience stores have been aggressive in instituting safety protocols,” Kar said. “The convenience business has responded proactively and effectively in an adverse situation to support the customer base.” And to satisfy some of the new customer needs during the pandemic, many convenience stores have adopted online ordering and delivery practices, much like larger grocery stores.