IFE Gives a Glimpse into the Future of Convenience

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Convenience (noun): a thing that contributes to an easy and effortless way of life. But is this true of current convenience stores? According to recent research by IFE13[1], the answer is no. Instead, consumers consider their local stores to be distinctly lacking - lacking in choice (49%), lacking in space (25%) and lacking in competitive pricing (49%).

So what does the future hold for convenience stores? How can store owners get consumers back on side and make their shops convenient once again? Well, six final year Retail Marketing Management students may have the answer with their convenience concept store of the future, due to be unveiled at IFE13.

Working with Professor Cathy Barnes, the students from the Faraday Centre of Retail Excellence at Leeds Metropolitan University have developed forward-thinking concepts with consumer needs at the heart of each one. From online click and collect schemes, to digital reminders, virtual food screens and a 24hr counter, the concepts have been merged into one modern store design that heralds a new phase in convenience shopping.

From the moment someone walks into the concept store they start their own, unique journey. The senior shopper, who prefers to pay by traditional methods, can visit one of the manned counters, whereas the busy, young professional can benefit by pre-ordering from the Pay, Click and Collect Zone, giving him or her time to try on clothes in the Virtual Fitting Rooms.

For those with a family, children can be dropped off in the Kid’s Zone, which also morphs into multiple Consumer Space, perfect for pop up shops, mother & baby groups and book clubs, giving consumers the community feel 35% like to enjoy.

In store WiFi means shoppers have the option to receive helpful updates, such as subscription reminders from the Pharmacy and, as 19% of consumers like to buy local produce, a freshly stocked Deli Counter adds variety to the daily essentials available from the Virtual Food Screens. Finally, the Refreshment Zone makes the perfect place for relaxation, whereas the 24 Hour Counter gives consumers access to goods around the clock.

Professor Cathy Barnes from the Faraday Centre of Retail Excellence comments: “Although we’re not expecting change to happen over night, we hope our concepts will inspire the convenience sector to make gradual, but necessary changes to their stores so they remain front of mind and ‘convenient’ for consumers.”

Chris McCuin, Event Director, IFE13 adds: “The student concepts are not only innovative, they insightfully cater for all consumers. Spira Projects Ltd is now working hard on the installation, which we’re looking forward to unveiling at the show in March.”

IFE is the UK’s largest and most respected food and drink event. With over 1200 exhibitors from around the world, the event provides visitors and exhibitors with the perfect platform to network, discuss the latest trends in foodservice and discover the most recent products to hit the market. To get a free visitor badge for IFE, please visit http://www.ife.co.uk.

Visitors and exhibitors can keep up to date with the latest event developments by following @IFEexhibition on Twitter, or joining the discussion on the IFE LinkedIn page: http://www.ife.co.uk/linkedin.

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