Last week, shopper research and convenience analysts him, revealed that convenience grocery shopping was overtaking the pumps at forecourts across the country as forecourts are no longer seen as petrol stations but rather as convenience stores that also sell petrol.

Over the past few years, it is clear that forecourts are taking this transition seriously.  Parking spaces are now the norm at forecourts, demonstrating that they have embraced the fact that some customers aren’t interested in the pumps at all.

This has led to a whole new forecourt etiquette.

Now, it may just be the men that I know, but it seems that many are avoiding forecourts, with an M&S store attached!  They are infuriated by those that park at the pumps, with legitimate fuel requirements, but then go shopping, lengthening the queue for those traditionalists that just want fuel!!

The solution might be a bigger foot-print for forecourts, adding even more car parking spaces so those that want to re-fuel and then browse can move off the pumps into a parking space, enabling a quick re-fuelling process for those behind them.

Grumpy old men aside, it will be interesting to see what else forecourts add into their mix?  More parking, an eat-in proposition, wifi capability, outside seating area, larger convenience stores etc creating dwell time rather than just fuel and go..?

Grocery shopping is fascinating.  It’s such a dynamic market, as let’s face it, everyone needs to shop for groceries.

I was definitely a once a week, ‘deliver it to me’ shopper.  But now we have moved offices into what only can be described as a little community hub, that’s all changed.

There is a Sainsbury’s Local, right next to the office and so, instantly my shopping habits have changed.  It’s easy to pick up fresh items, and decide what to have for dinner, that evening rather than planning ahead.

Before this was on my doorstep, I don’t think I’d ever really visited Sainsbury’s.  I thought that I was retailer brand loyal, but it seems that convenience now drives my purchasing habits more.

My weekly shop is now just for those essential, often heavy, non-perishable essentials – cat food, washing tabs, store cupboard staples, that sort of thing.

This search for convenience and shopping multi-tasking is driving a more entrepreneurial approach to a convenience store proposition, with owners adding in extra value items and propositions to match their local community needs.

Think how many convenience stores now offer food to go, a café, a Post Office perhaps, bakery and more.

Our own research carried out in conjunction with him, revealed that 15% of convenience stores are owned or run by people aged 30 or under, stamping their own take on what a convenience store for their age group should offer.

Retail PR is a fabulous, dynamic entrepreneurial sector to be in.   Who knows what might happen for the forecourt, café, gym, convenience store of the future, but it will be fantastic to watch.

And, if any entrepreneur is out there, I would really like a mix of health food, fresh, food to go, café, outside seating area, wifi, petrol pump, gym, swimming pool (ok maybe a step too far) at the end of my road!

Our consumer lifestyle PR team specialise in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PRFood & Drink PRConsumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at www.escapadepr.com/about-us.