Americans’ love affair with coffee continues to grow, as the daily consumption of coffee has officially outpaced the daily consumption of soft drinks. In 2011, an estimated 20,000 coffee shops in the United States shared $10 billion dollars in coffee drink sales. A whopping 75% of all US adults drink coffee and nearly 60% reported drinking coffee every day.
Convenience stores are obviously elbowing in on traditional coffee shop sales, because the number one reason why people stop at their neighborhood c-store in the morning is to buy a cup of coffee. Today we will take a look at three major c-store chains and how they are battling America’s coffee frontier.
Circle K clearly understands the importance of winning over the daily habits and hearts of American consumers, as they just debuted their new barista bar. I was blown away by the upscale coffee machines and wide variety of gourmet offerings. Circle K does a great job conveying that premium feel with rich colors and flat screen monitors.
Circle K’s new coffee slogan—“Coffee Made Personal”—really sums it up well, because coffee is personal, and at Circle K customers can make their coffee just the way they love it. Unfortunately, from the Maven’s perspective, Circle K missed a few key opportunities, as they did not communicate their new coffee bar or their 99-cent coffee offer at the gas pumps. Only one window sign (above) promoted coffee, but lacked the premium feel of the upscale barista bar.
Meanwhile, 7-Eleven maintains the old school DIY style, but offers gourmet creamers like Almond Joy®, French vanilla, and hazelnut as well as gourmet frozen blends. The Maven’s customer experience was magnified as the store manager was very welcoming and quick to engage with me about their current coffee marketing campaign: “Your Coffee–Your Decision.” What 7-Eleven lacked in sophistication they more than made up for with the customer experience and smart at-store marketing. Their coffee signs were prominently displayed throughout the store, in many windows, and on all of their gas pumps.
I think Americans love combo deals almost as much as they love coffee. QT does a great job promoting their coffee-and-donut combo through effective at-store marketing. The $1.69 combo tempts customers at the pump and lures them into the store. Upon entering the store, every customer is greeted by a massive banner which again features the combo. QT takes advantage of valuable counter space (where customers place the lid on their coffee cup) and once again features the coffee-and-donut combo.
What strategies and tactics can you implement to increase your share of the coffee-drinking segment?