Last month The Cube, dubbed the "neighborhood concierge," opened in Norman, Oklahoma. The 2,500 sq. ft. store crosses a convenience store with a drive-thru option.
"We looked at c-stores that offer a drive-thru and many seemed inconvenient," Jake Sharp, one of the owners of The Cube, told CSNews. "Often the same person working inside the store is also working the drive-thru, and that isn't offering good customer service inside or outside. Also, the few that offered the option were limited in terms of products you could get through the drive-thru."
Customers need only pull up to the window at The Cube and stock up on groceries, pre-made hot foods or even beauty products, household products or medicines.
The idea began to take shape five years ago when Sharp, who owned a drive-thru tobacco shop, found that customers were looking for additional products such as chips, snacks and drinks. And soon the additional products took priority for many customers over tobacco products.
Sharp partnered with CEO Joe Lawrence and another owner to launch their new wave convenience store.
The Cube is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Customers simply drive up to the front door and have their order brought out to the car.
The Cube uses proprietary and perpetual inventory so shoppers cannot order something that is out of stock. The company is working on installing RFID technology so that employees will know when a customer's car pulls up to the store.
The owners plan to open 25 more stores in Oklahoma.
The popularity of convenience stores continues to grow. The number of convenience stores in the United States grew 1 percent in 2014, totaling 152,794. They now account for 33.9 percent of all retail outlets in the country, according to the 2015 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.
And the roles and offerings at these stores continue to evolve. Just this week, convenience store chain Wawa announced the rollout of its new mobile app featuring a payment and rewards function. And last fall, gasoline and convenience store retailer Thorntons teamed up with Paytronix Systems to implement a new Refreshing Rewards customer loyalty program. In addition, last year 7-Eleven introduced a coffee rewards program available on the retailer's mobile app.
-See this CSNews article
Convenience stores make up 34% of all US retail outlets
Wawa rolls out mobile payment, loyalty app
Thorntons launches new customer loyalty program across 178 locations
7-Eleven launches coffee rewards program
7-Eleven expands loyalty program to 2,600 stores