7 Convenience Store Design Strategies for 2021

7 Convenience Store Design Strategies for 2021

By Steve Di Orio
Posted in Convenience Stores, Store Design
On March 04, 2021

Have you ever walked into a convenience store and asked yourself, why was this store designed this way? As you can probably imagine, the store layout was not created by chance but by data. Large convenience store chain retailers have data on which products to display on which gondola shelf based on projected purchases. As an independent c-store operator, you might not have the resources to obtain such granular data, making your convenience store design even more critical to set your business up for success.

Here’s an interesting statistic. Did you know that the average area of a convenience store sales floor is 2,425 square feet? More importantly, what can c-store owners do to maximize each one of those squared feet in terms of increasing impulse sales? In this article, we will highlight seven convenience store design strategies to utilize for 2021.

1. Colors, Colors, and More Colors

When designing a convenience store, the last thing you want as an independent retailer is “traditional” plain vanilla throughout your store. Colors are your friend and are an excellent way to highlight certain aspects of your convenience store. A fantastic way to start is by matching the colors of your logo. This will enhance your brand and be applied to your store fixtures, sales and beverage counters, store signage, floors, and even employee uniforms. This concept leads us to our next store design strategy.

2. Have Store Displays Standout with Wood-Tone Finishes

An affordable way to add personality to your convenience store is to go away with the generic off-white shelving and pegboard displays. Our team of store designers recommends incorporating wood-tone finishes to your gondola shelving back panels that match your coffee stations and checkout counters. Handy Store Fixtures VP of Sales Joe O’Brien believes, “when customers walk into your c-store, you want to give them the feeling that your business is not like every other convenience store.” Wood-tone shelving displays can nicely contrast with your store's ceiling, floor, and walls providing a unique design.

3. Entice Millennials to Spend More

The millennial demographic is comprised of a substantial number of consumers. From a retail perspective, millennials symbolize a terrific opportunity to sustain customer loyalty based on their age group. According to a recent GasBuddy survey, on average, millennials spend $10-15 a week at convenience stores, with foodservice serving as the leading driver. One way to get millennials to spend more in your store is to embrace technology from a store design perspective. From soda fountains to hot prepared food ordering, bringing more interactivity inside your c-store will enhance the customer experience.

4. Take Advantage of Free-Standing Displays

Here is another interesting stat, 46% of convenience store shoppers only purchase one product. As a retailer, imagine what that can mean for your bottom line if that 46% were now 66% or more. Free-standing displays are sometimes overlooked by convenience store retailers but provide an effective way to merchandise impulse items near checkout areas in a small amount of space. The best part, they are on casters and can be easily moved around your store. These display units provide ample shelving and peggable merchandising capabilities and can be manufactured in any steel and back panel color offered by Handy Store Fixtures.

5. Highlight Different Areas of your Convenience Store with Graphics

I’m sure you have heard the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Your convenience store should be no different. What better way to guide customers through your store than with large graphics that highlight other areas of your store? Hot prepared food, coffee, ice-cold beverages, and pastries are just an example of various categories that will help your customers navigate your c-store. Even more, these graphics will entice your customer to visit often and will give them something to look forward to every visit.

6. Leverage Different Gondola Shelving Options

Not all shelves are built equally. Truthfully, I’m not sure if that is a saying, but it’s true; not all gondola shelves are the same. Candy shelves are an ideal alternative when displaying candy on end caps in your store as they allow you to merchandise a large amount of product on each unit. Don’t let the name fool you. Wire bakery shelves from Handy Store Fixtures are more than just a display solution for bread. These innovative shelves can display boxes of candy and various bags of chips and pretzels.

7. Embrace a Drive-Thru Concept

With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting most of the United States, convenience stores have to plan for the ever-changing consumer behavior. With social distancing and many states still enforcing maximum capacity limits, a few large chain convenience stores are developing drive-thru to continue their hot prepared foods section. A few months ago, I wrote an article titled, “3 Ways to Convenience Stores can Increase Sales during COVID-19. In the blog, I take a deeper dive into the drive-thru business model.

These are just some ideas convenience store retailers can implement when designing a c-store in 2021. If you are an independent retailer operating within the convenience store industry, you have to find innovative solutions to make your business stand out. If you would like to speak to a Handy Store Fixtures store designer today, please contact us today to get started.

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Steve Di Orio

Steve Di Orio


Steve has been with Handy Store Fixtures for over 15 years. After becoming the Marketing Manager in 2006, he was named Director of Marketing. Steven earned his MBA from Montclair State University with a specialization in Digital Marketing in 2019. When not at work, he loves to travel, play golf, exercise, and talk all things search engine marketing and retail display tips.