Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 66

Three "C's"
for Success

Don't Discount
Disruption

Incoming NACS Chairman Joe Sheetz, president and
CEO of Sheetz Inc., outlined three "C's" that he said
have helped shaped the retailer from its earliest days
and he believes can likewise help shape the convenience store industry at large:
* Customers - Sheetz Inc. prides itself on providing its customers with fast and friendly service,
and delivering quality products in clean and convenient locations. Part of serving customers well
is staying ahead of the curve, the new chairman
explained. "Our vision is to create the business
that will put Sheetz, as we know it today, out of
business," he said.
* Culture - In order to deliver the sort of service
that will keep customers coming back, Sheetz Inc.
makes it a priority to create a workplace culture
that attracts and retains the people who will be
serving them. Acknowledging the competition for
quality talent today, he said, "We all have to be
more attractive to applicants."
* Community - Sheetz Inc. has raised $21 million to date through its Sheetz for the Kidz charity. The employee-run charity was founded 25
years ago and supports the annual purchase of
toys, clothes and other items for local children
over the holidays.

General session speaker Chip Conley, an American
hotelier, entrepreneur, author and original head of
global hospitality and strategy for Airbnb, spoke on
the issue of disruption and how it is likely to affect
the c-store industry, using the rise of ride-sharing app
Uber's disruption of the taxi industry and Airbnb's disruption of the hotel industry as examples.
While these companies operate in a different space
than c-stores, they provide an opportunity to learn
how to anticipate and cope with disruption in general,
he said.
A common mistake
is dismissing potential
disruptors by being overly
sure that consumers don't
want something. Much
of the taxi industry was
sure people would not
want to ride in another
person's personal car, and
many in the hotel industry were certain that travelers would not want to
spend the night in someone else's home - yet use
of both Uber and Airbnb
has skyrocketed across
the country and outside
its borders, leaving the disrupted industries scrambling to
deal with these new competitors.
A disruptive innovation does not typically arrive
without some foreshadowing. Conley cited the creation of ATMs as evidence that customers prefer
machines over lines. He also noted that innovation
usually addresses an underlying need that isn't being
met, which can lead to it becoming part of the accepted mainstream in the long run.
In regards to the c-store industry, he advised retailers to be wary of disruptors like Amazon and what
the company is doing with drones, Amazon Go and
its acquisition of Whole Foods. But he added that
Amazon and other companies are unlikely to take over
the convenience industry, especially if c-stores lean into
their prime strength.
"You're safe as long as you take key steps to stay
convenient," Conley said.

66 Convenience Store News | DECEMBER 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Convenience Store News - December 2017

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