European 2021 C-Store Shopper Insights Survey
Retailers are constantly trying to get in the minds of shoppers to know what they value and how their customer experience measures up against expectations. Online purchasing and Amazon have changed the way consumers make decisions. Publicly available and un-censored customer reviews are now the number #1 resource in making a choice. According to a recent 2021 study, 67% of all customer reviews are written on Google Review (Birdeye.com), making Google the go-to resource for customer research and retailer insights.
2021 Study Summary
CAF Outdoor Cleaning completed a second deep dive analysis into online google ratings across Europe to better understand what customers care about. Specifically, the study analyzed 850 customer reviews across 40 top-rated convenience chains in 18 different European countries. To gain the most insight, 5-star and 1-star ratings were selected to identify what customers raved or raged about.
The average convenience store studied had 364 reviews. That is a significant 73% increase from the 210 average last found in a similar study from 2019.
Ratings continue to be mostly positive with 78% of the reviews analyzed being positive (similar to 2019).
The average rating across all locations increased from 3.9 to 4.2, signaling an improvement in the customer experience. Retailers continue to invest in improving the customer experience as for many shoppers that “5-star” bar continues to rise.
Convenience and Petroleum / Fuel Consumer Priorities
Beyond the 5-star rating, many customers leave feedback with their score giving insights into what the customer loved or hated about their experience.
Shoppers most commonly cited Friendly as the reason for a positive 5-star review. Food, Drink & Snack Options took the #2, #4, and #5 spots for importance. Cleanliness ranked #3 with nearly a third (29%) of shoppers giving a 5-star review raving about the level of clean. This mirrors US data from Gasbuddy citing that cleanliness ranks highest in reason for selecting a pit stop when looking at what factor is most often cited in the top 3.
Unhappy, 1-star reviews also mentioned the inverse of those Top 5 Positive Reasons. Dirty, unfriendly and no food options all continue to drive negative feedback. Although not a top reason for a positive experience - Gas Price and Speed both topped the list of reasons for a poor experience. It is difficult to “win” business with price and speed, but according to the results it’s a common reason for a negative experience.
Specific Customer Reviews and Rankings by Retail Brand
Ratings and feedback were tracked by brand to provide additional insights on the customer experience from the reviews analyzed. The below chart by brand shows what reasons were given by shoppers when leaving a 5-star review by brand. Those reasons were then ranked by frequency of occurrence. In each box the % indicates how often that reason was left for that brand in the reviews analyzed.
Negative attributes were also tracked and showcase opportunities to improve the customer experience.
Summary and Recommendations
Customers value the basics of friendly customer service and a clean environment. Take a moment to look at the online ratings for your site(s). What are the common reasons listed for your 5-star reviews? Do the negative reviews provide actionable insights?
If only maintaining a clean and friendly store was as easy as it sounds. Convenience retailing is difficult and takes the right tools and partners. We invite you to reach out today to learn about how CAF can help introduce a forecourt cleaning program that will drive traffic and positive reviews. Let us share with you best practices and lessons gained from working with 35,000 retail locations worldwide to be your customer experience and cleaning partner.