AACS Down Under Study Tour shows convenience is thriving

The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) successfully held its Down Under Study Tour in Melbourne last week.

The study tour saw 84 delegates, including 15 from New Zealand, visit 13 stores across Melbourne, which showcased the latest formats across convenience retail, small format grocery, and travel centres.

Theo Foukkare, CEO of AACS, said the study tour provided an in-depth understanding of the investment being made into the channel to drive future growth and capture the needs and wants of today’s consumers.

“Everyone was impressed with the level of continued offer development on show by all retailers. Some of the key themes included the great advancements in food offers across the board with a focus on ‘on-the-go’, the focus on local, and technology application via app development, including the options to self-scan and go, pay in app, order ahead via app, and self-scan.”

“There was a significant focus on in-store theatre, excellence in merchandising, great customer layouts, and increased choice across the assortment of products.

“Drive through continues to be a trend to capture the ‘on-the-go’ consumers, along with staff training to ensure the in-store experience is as good as possible.”

Insights into each store were provided by store hosts, allowing delegates the opportunity to ask questions and garner an inside understanding of how each site is run. These insights were supported by Foukkare and Stephen Crystal, Chairperson of AACS and National Retail Operations Manager at Viva Energy Australia, who hosted each bus.

Foukkare said that bringing so many new faces to the industry was a main highlight.

“We were able to showcase the latest offers in Australian convenience from some great Australian retailers, both large and small. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring in terms of offer development.”

Foukkare thanked all delegates for their commitment to learning and the retailers for hosting the group over the two days.

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