Case Study

leveraging Channel Shopper Community to Drive Collaboration


Establishing collaborative partnerships with retailers can be challenging. It’s especially difficult when the type of store a brand needs to connect with is in a highly fractured channel with store owners who have varying levels of shopper understanding. And it’s made even more difficult when the brand’s categories are only a fraction of the channel’s overall sales.

A consumer-packaged goods company (CPG) in the food vertical found themselves in this predicament with convenience store operators. Among other strategies, the company suspected that establishing themselves as thought leaders could bolster their business in this channel. C+R designed a mixed methods approach to get our client the insights they needed to position themselves as a key channel partner.


Demonstrating Commitment Through Thought Leadership

Our client, a major food CPG company, wanted better shelf representation and brand adoption in convenience stores.

The challenge? While the convenience store channel has a large reach, with over 150,000 facilities in the U.S. alone, it has a huge range of store formats, and more than 60% of stores are run independently by single store operators, making a typical retail approach nearly impossible.

Our client knew they needed to build rapport to drive adoption of their products in stores. Further, because the CPG food product categories are a limited piece of c-store sales, marketing pieces would need to be highly focused on solutions that could help store operators.

Given all this, the client wanted to demonstrate their commitment to c-stores by making a contribution greater than the scope of their product – something that would be useful to the entire industry.


An Online Community Provides Ready-Access to C-Store Shoppers

C+R created an online community to give the client ready-access to c-store shoppers. The online community was live for more than four months and provided an efficient and flexible way for the research team to cover a wide range of topics and formats.

A full range of tools was used to capture the most reliable information:

  • Quantitative surveys
  • Quick polls
  • Mobile missions
  • Photo and video capture
  • Shopper-driven forums about topics of interest to the community
  • In-depth discussions
  • Journaling

Using the insights gathered, C+R designed and delivered a series of sales-ready materials (newsletters and infographics) for our client and their retail partners. Results influenced actions on conversion, merchandising, and digital communication.

The result

Research That Results in Partnership

The C+R Research team explored convenience store shoppers’ experiences, behaviors, attitudes, and motivations with a multi-varied, extended engagement.

During the life of the study, we provided our client with a plethora of learnings on a range of topics, including:

  • What catches consumers’ attention in-store
  • Emerging snack trends
  • How shoppers use social media in c-stores and online interactions with c-stores
  • Effective ways of driving and converting traffic in the morning
  • Gender differences in likes and dislikes regarding convenience stores
  • Decoding “the why” behind impulse buys
  • What makes great food service
  • Creating buzz around c-stores
  • Effective approaches to loyalty programs

C+R’s findings helped the CPG company build collaborative partnerships with convenience store operators. Results were used to improve conversion, revenue, and customer satisfaction for the retailer while building the CPG manufacturer’s presence in the channel. Our client is now considered a thought-leader and valuable resource within the industry.

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