When we look back to our businesses before March 2020, it’s impressive (and intimidating) to see the amount of transformation that’s happened in just two years. All it took was a worldwide pandemic to force companies in all industries to implement programs once discussed as “someday in the future” strategies. Who would have thought we would all become proficient in using video conferencing for meetings large and small? Your c-store operations likely look different, too.
During large segments of the past two years, many consumers relied on last-mile fulfillment strategies and curbside pickup. While these behaviors originated from stay-at-home recommendations, quarantine orders, and social distancing protocol, consumers ended up enjoying the convenience so much that the demand is not disappearing even as communities adjust to “newer” realities. Very significantly, the resources for providing these services are growing as more people drop out of traditional entry-level positions to take on infinitely flexible jobs with delivery companies.
What is Q-Commerce?
Q-Commerce, or “quick commerce,” is the next evolution of last-mile fulfillment strategies. With last-mile fulfillment strategies, customers can order products via the web or mobile apps with same or next-day delivery. Q-Commerce takes that concept to a whole new level.
Here’s how Q-Commerce is different from traditional last-mile fulfillment delivery services:
- Q-Commerce is lightning fast. Instead of waiting hours or a day to get a delivery, Q-Commerce solutions promise to get the purchase to the customer typically in 30 minutes or less. In dense, urban cities, many Q-Commerce delivery people rely on bikes to make transportation faster than would be possible by car.
- Q-Commerce often relies on dark stores. To help make order fulfillment fast, many of these providers use dark stores–stores organized like warehouses and closed to the public. By utilizing electronic shelving technology, orders are quickly pulled and packaged for immediate delivery.
- Q-Commerce is usually a 24/7 service. The whole premise of typical store hours goes out the window when a business isn’t relying on customers to arrive at its doorsteps. These operations recognize that people need deliveries at all hours and schedule employees to meet that demand. Some Q-Commerce solutions offer certain products 24/7 and others on a more limited basis.
- Q-Commerce is easy. Some people have described Q-Commerce as the Tinder of product orders. Orders are quickly compiled and paid for using a mobile app and a quick swipe or click. In the same amount of time that’s usually required for pizza delivery, you can have just about anything delivered to where you’re standing.
- Q-Commerce purchasing starts at the delivery company. Unlike other last-mile fulfillment strategies where a consumer purchases on a store’s mobile app and deliveries are fulfilled through a partner delivery service, Q-Commerce typically begins by shopping the Q-Commerce site. For example, you can order groceries and limited home goods by using the GoPuff app or visit Drizly.com to purchase the fixings for tonight’s cocktail. Shoppers don’t select the store the product comes from; the Q-Commerce company does.
What does this mean for your C-Store?
Consumer demands are evolving more quickly than ever before, with convenience on the top of their priority list. Finding ways to make the shopping experience easier and faster with convenient pickup and delivery options is critical for success in today’s economy. What led to success before the COVID pandemic won’t likely be the key to your success in the future. It’s time to think differently and implement new strategies to meet your customers’ new needs.
If you’re looking for ways to improve the profitability of your convenience store, contact our experts at GP Energy. With decades of experience in the petroleum industry, we have the proven expertise your company needs to achieve extraordinary results. Give us a call and learn more about all the ways we can help your business grow.