Gas stations have a convenience store cheat code. Gasoline is something that 84% of Americans need on a regular basis. On top of that, it’s one of the only things they can't get delivered from Amazon. That makes gas station stores incredibly convenient for most Americans. The problem is that Americans are stopping at the gas station less often and for many people, gas stations will be a thing of the past very soon. That means that gas stations will not be able to rely on gas stops alone to attract customers.
There are several factors that are leading to fewer fuel-ups for many people. The first is fuel efficiency. Cars’ fuel efficiency has steadily increased for most of the past 50 years. People do not need to fill up as often because their new hybrid can go twice as far on a tank of gas. Another reason is less driving. The work-from-home revolution has left many driving much less than they were before. Estimates show an average decrease of 17% in miles driven from last year.
The last and most important threat to Americans' weekly fuel-up is electric vehicles. Each year a larger share of vehicles on the road are EVs. This trend will continue as massive automobile manufacturers like General Motors plan to sell only electric vehicles by 2035. It seems that the average American will be "going electric" sooner than predicted, even a few years ago.
This presents a problem for gas stations for which there are two main solutions. One is to provide EV charging stations to replicate the gas station effect for their convenience store. The other is to move away from petroleum as a primary driver of in-store sales.
Getting an EV charging station has never been better. Many states have incentives for businesses to get EV charging stations. This page shows state-to-state incentives for electric vehicles. In many cases, these incentives help to mitigate the cost of getting charging stations. Some companies who sell these stations would add your store to a network that shows electric vehicle owners where they can stop to charge up. Being one of the first businesses in an area with a charging station will surely draw attention from local EV owners.
Another solution is for convenience stores to begin to rely less on gas stations as a source of traffic. Lula does this with delivery. Lula creates online traffic for convenience stores which can help to make up for lost sales from COVID, gas prices, or work from home. Even if a store isn't struggling, Lula is a great way to reach new customers that weren't going to leave home anyway.
People go to convenience stores for “convenience”. That is why putting one next to a gas station works perfectly. Delivery does not replace the convenience of a gas station store, but it does work better for the growing customer base that doesn't need to get gas every week.
About Lula: Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., Lula provides delivery solutions for convenience stores, pharmacies, and CPG brands that do not have a secondary sales channel, offering the first multi-vendor 30-minute delivery platform and a commitment to building a cleaner, more sustainable world. Learn more about Lula at www.luladelivery.com