Set in one of Canada’s most historically significant cities, the 2017 National Convenience Industry Summit took place late this September in Quebec City. As Canadians celebrated Canada’s 150th year, this year’s Summit also reflected upon the past achievements while bringing the industry together to look forward to the future.
Tony Chapman kicked things off with an inspiring and provocative keynote that explored what the convenience channel needs to do to capture the attention of consumers. As the industry faces ever changing competition and consumer demands, Tony emphasized ways that our industry can provide service – simplifying and saving the consumer time and money.
Attendees also learned about new research from Kathy Perrotta and Serra Schular of Ipsos Marketing and later Carman Allison of Neilsen.
The Ipsos Marketing research walked the audience through some key trends such as how consumers are increasingly making decisions about what to eat based on in-the-moment needs. The full report identifies opportunities for the channel to leverage quick trip moments. The report stated that over 58% of all quick-trip occasions are motivated by snacking and “mini-mealing” and consumers are informing many of their eating needs through technology.
Carman Allison spoke about the trends influencing the path to purchase. He looked at four key trends defining a new marketplace: improving consumer confidence, spending power on the rise, slowing sales growth for consumer packaged goods and continued disruption in retail.
Day two of programming kicked off with an inspirational panel discussion focusing on how our industry can tell our story about the communities we support. The first ever National C-Store Day was discussed as an important tool to demonstrate to governments the role we play in communities and how much we contribute to the economy.
The program ended with a look to the future. Tod Maffin closed things off by providing some key trends that our industry must pay attention to in order to continue to grow their business. Delivery services, pop-up convenient stores, fully automated kiosk stores, biometrics and market research, the erosion of brand loyalty, price checking and finally; the influence of millennials. He pointed out that millennial‘s are much more concerned with social responsibility, and like to support businesses that make a social impact.
Networking and Fun
But the Summit wasn’t all business sessions! Attendees had the opportunity to meet and mingle during our opening party, which took place in the heart of Old Quebec, at a UNESCO world heritage building, alive with Quebecois history. Attendees visited with friends, old and new, at communal picnic tables, toe-tapped to talented musicians and rolled their own maple taffy.
We also celebrated for the first time the new National Convenience Industry Awards, combining the Awards of Excellence and the Convenience Innovation Awards into one night, as we honoured excellence and innovation in the industry.
And no Summit would be the same without the Trade Exchange, where distributors and retailers met with manufacturers to learn about what new and innovative offerings they can bring to market to please consumers.
Closing and Looking Forward
The Summit ended with a look forward. Attendees left with new research to support their business, ideas for improving consumer experience and concepts for growing the channel.
And as one year comes to an end, the Summit Planning Committee start planning for a new year. The 2018 Summit is set for September 25-27, 2018 in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the Westin Nova Scotian. We look forward to seeing you there.