May 16, 2016
Successful companies pay attention to their consumers, which has led to an emphasis on the “express” concept. Things are needed, and needed NOW by the average customer, as people in America have places to be. Businesses have taken notes and adapted in order to maximize on the opportunity in this area. Target is no different; they have taken on a small venture, TargetExpress, which opened up on the University of Minnesota campus.
The aim of this smaller channel is to meet the on-the-go demands of the students, as well as being of service to the local community. A number of products seen in gas stations can be found on these shelves, such as energy drinks, snacks, etc. However, the intention on their part isn’t to directly compete with convenience stores, but simply to offer their market another alternative if the time between duties or classes is scarce, and one can ill-afford to spend 5 (or more) minutes trying to find what they need in the larger store. This mission has brought success as well, with Target looking to open up four more of these stores next year, according to Convenience Store News.
Of course, not to be outdone, Walmart has already embarked upon this same mission, except looking at this concept in more ways than one. They have the Neighborhood Market, Walmart Express, and have begun a journey with Walmart To Go, which, contrary to TargetExpress, is aligning itself in competition with convenience stores. The To Go station even has gas pumps in front of the building. An article from Forbes cites a declining sales rate in the traditional stores as a reason for the focus on these smaller chains. “Same-store sales and foot traffic – both considered key retail metrics – were slightly down for the company’s U.S. stores, slipping 0.3% and 1.1% respectively compared to the second quarter of 2013” (2014). Because of the decrease in these statistics, Walmart has decided to change its approach in order to maintain its already powerful position in the retail world. This certainly will be something to keep an eye on in the near future.
This trend could become the norm for major companies as we move forward, and as Americans become more hurried to get things done. It isn’t a far stretch to predict that there will be many more of these venues opening within the next few years across the U.S., as these major organizations look to improve their bottom line and tap into a broader consumer base (than they already possess). Convenience stores will also need to keep a very close eye on these events, as there may be some substantial innovation required on their part to keep from losing business. They may or may not be affected in such a drastic manner, but regardless, their attention is needed because this certainly will add another dimension to the convenience store realm.
Berk, Brian. “Introducing TargetExpress.” Convenience Store News. 2014
Celentano, Domenick. “Wal-Mart Plans to Open its First Wal-Mart Express Stores.” About Money. 2014.
O’Connor, Clare. “Inside Walmart’s Convenience Stores: Big-Box Giant Goes Small.” Forbes. 2014.