Knowing how millennials like to eat and drink can help you attract them to your C-store.
Knowing how millennials like to eat and drink can help you attract them to your C-store.

According to Pew Research Center, approximately 75 million millennials were living in the U.S. in 2015. That means C-stores, as well as other industries, are all clamoring to attract this 18-34 year-old crowd. Understanding how the millennial consumer spends his or her money is key to bringing up a loyal generation of shoppers. Here are some key insights into the burgeoning group and how to get them in your C-store:

Millennials are on the go
According to a study by Y-Pulse, millennials covet convenient food options often choosing to eat on the go over sitting down. This puts C-stores in a good position. Grab-and-go foods appeal to those in a hurry, offering a meal that’s easy to eat. However, how the food is packaged and what it contains are important, too. Even convenience food should be easy to open and tasty if it’s to appeal to 18-34-year-olds.

Ensuring your C-store has plenty of grab-and-go meals can help cement your usefulness in the minds of millennials. Make sure your refrigerated areas containing such offerings are front and center so new customers know you can serve them.

Nostalgia is a powerful tool
Millennials tend to have wistful memories of growing up and are willing to spend money on things that trigger nostalgia. The film industry cashes in on this with remakes of ’80s and ’90s classics hitting the big screen often. You can do the same in your C-store. The Y-Pulse survey found that 69 percent of millennials longed for foods that would remind them of the past. While you might not be able to reproduce mom’s meatloaf, you can be choosy with your stock. Retro candies, sodas and snacks all appeal to this generation. For example, most millennials recognize Lunchables, Ring Pops and Gushers. Not only are the nostalgic treats favorites, but they’re easy to stock at the counter to drive upsells.

Weird is a good thing
A report by bcg.perpective noted that millennials are drawn to unique flavor combinations. Snacks like Bacon Mac and Cheese Lays and Pretzel M&Ms are evidence of this trend. When looking for new snacks to keep on hand, be on the lookout for anything that’s out of the box or requires an adventurous palate.

Go craft or go home
According to Neilsen, millennials also gravitate toward unique alcohol, preferring craft options over mass-produced ones. In fact, the source pointed out that many will try new brands they haven’t seen before over familiar drinks they’ve enjoyed. For a savvy C-store, that means adding craft alcohol offerings to your refrigerated cases. You may also want to be on the lookout for new and local producers that may appeal to millennials. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your standard beers – just make room for bestsellers and new brews.

Targeting millennial shoppers now can help you establish a loyal customer base. Doing so requires some creative thinking, stocking your store with items that you may not have considered in the past.