When is a Forecourt not a Forecourt?


Elyse Charvin, Insight Executive, him!

According to our most recent research, there is a remarkable difference in shopper behaviour in a symbol fascia forecourt compared with an oil company store.

Forecourt convenience stores account for 9.1% of the total UK food & grocery sector according to William Reed Grocery Structure 2015 of which symbol forecourts now make up a significant chunk and are becoming a powerful and important sub-sector of the UK Convenience channel.

So who is the symbol forecourt shopper?

17% of symbol forecourt shoppers don’t have a car and those that do now top-up on fuel rather than filling the tank up, mirroring their shopping behaviour. Therefore it is no surprise that symbol forecourts have now developed their services so that they no longer rely solely on petrol to drive footfall.

For those who do own a car, 58% of them leave it at the pump highlighting the pressure placed on timekeeping when in-store. The necessity to maximise a logical layout and merchandising solutions is therefore key in this environment and clear signage in store is essential to meet symbol forecourts’ ‘ease of shop’ need. Cross category merchandising can make the shoppers’ lives easier.

The top four most important factors a symbol forecourt must deliver on are the same as those in a standalone symbol convenience store (but different to an oil company managed forecourt). Shoppers use their local symbol forecourt stores as traditional convenience stores with 24% on a top up mission. Therefore these core deliverables are crucial in providing shoppers with the same levels of service they would expect.

Moreover there is an opportunity to increase the importance of branding since a mere 17% of symbol forecourt shoppers are influenced by the brand of fuel when choosing a forecourt. Only 13% of symbol forecourt shoppers say that the brand name of the shop would influence their decision to buy fuel.

The focus for symbol forecourts is to drive shop footfall and spend. To do so, sustaining the growth of ‘on the go’ in symbol forecourts whilst facilitating greater use for ‘top-up’ is key. Highlighting the growing strength of symbol forecourt shops, over the last three years, the top up, food-to-go and treat missions have indeed grown in symbol forecourts. Meanwhile the proportion of shoppers whose main reason for visit was fuel has declined. This is why targeting top-up and food-to-go mission shoppers should go hand in hand for symbol forecourt retailers as food-to-go items feature more heavily in the ‘top-up’ basket of symbol forecourt shoppers. In addition to this, symbol forecourts are best-in-class in the food-to-go mission with 22% on this mission vs 15% of symbol standalone shoppers.

CTP clients can download our brand new report which focuses on symbol forecourts here or let us know if you would like to access the report by completing the short form below:  

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