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What customers want in the to-go business

The spontaneous purchase at the checkout in the shop or in the gas station is an important source of additional profit for many entrepreneurs in the tank and car wash industry. It is therefore important to always stick to the customer’s wishes and to make an attractive offer. But what are the current trends in the to-go business?

Purchase offers from the to-go range play a major role in regular customer contact at the checkout in the petrol station or while waiting at the car wash. However, when it comes to spontaneous purchases in particular, customers always want to be presented with new offers.

Fair trade and vegan

In 2021, the topics of sustainability and a balanced diet were the trend. Fair trade products and products that were sugar-reduced, lactose-free, vegetarian or vegan were therefore particularly popular. The German convenience retailer Lekkerland mentions the vegetarian Mühlen Snacks, for example, which offer alternatives without meat. Looking back, one can see that customers wanted to combine their impulse purchase with a clear conscience.

Corona as an obstacle to spontaneous purchases at the checkout
At the same time, 2021 was a difficult year for entrepreneurs, who factored in a certain proportion of sales as additional sales at the checkout. Working from home and the elimination of many commuter and business trips also had an impact on snack consumption. According to Lekkerland, the low customer frequency led to a change in consumer behavior. Chewing gum, mints and coffee in to-go cups experienced a significant slump in demand at the peak of the home office. This now needs to be stimulated again.

New trends for 2022

After the Corona-related lull, companies are only faced with new requirements and customer requests. According to Lekkerland’s findings, sustainability and conscious nutrition seem to be taking a back seat. Now customers are very tempted to buy by fancy products and limited promotions. Moritz Klein, Director of Purchasing & Category Management Food at Lekkerland, advises focusing on new products in the range. “If you have a suitable location, then dare to offer younger, hip products from innovative start-ups! They should then remain in the program for a while until the customer notices them – also because they are addressed correctly, for example via social media or a display in front of the shop.”

Promotions and other incentives are intended to awaken customers from their reluctance during the Corona period. Companies now have to manage to get customers excited about buying in person and staying at the coffee bar again. To do this, the new purchasing behavior should be examined closely in order to apply the right measures to the post-pandemic period.

Disposable cups

After the challenge this year, the next change is already waiting for customers and entrepreneurs. For instance in Germany gas stations will be obliged to sell snacks and drinks in reuseable boxes and cups. CarwashPro.de already reported on the coming legal changes. It remains to be seen whether providers will switch to a multi-way offer early this year or whether they will first boost the to-go business in the way customers are used to.

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Author: Sandra Schäfer

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