CSP Magazine, a top convenience store and gas station trade publication recently released its list of top convenience stores by number of stores for 2017. Not surprisingly, 7-Eleven Inc., with 8,303 locations came in No. 1, repeating its position from last year.
In fact, the rest of the top 4, including Alimentation Couch-Tard, Speedway, a division of Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:MPCA), and Casey's General Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:CASYC) all landed in exactly the same position as 2016.
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Movin’ Up – Slidin’ Down – Stayin’ Put
For the rest of the top 10, some positions changed dramatically, some a little and some not at all. Murphy USA Inc. (NYSE:MUSAA) moved up 2 spots from No. 7 to No. 5, GPM Investments LLC jumped from No. 11 to No. 7 and Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVXC) leapt from No. 13 to No. 9.
Kroger Co. Convenience Division, owned by The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KRC), slipped down spot from No. 9 last year to No. 10 this year. Sunoco LP (NYSE: SUN) and BP America Inc., owned by BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BPB) stayed pat at No. 6 and No. 8 respectively.
Gas Buddy Weighs In
Meanwhile this past week gas price tech company Gas Buddy released its latest list of top gas station convenience stores by state as rated by millions of GasBuddy users who rated brands on “best overall convenience store retail experience.” As might be expected, rating on “best experience” versus “largest number of stores” can result in differences in standing. In fact, Speedway, rated No. 1 by CSP with more than 8,000 stores, only ranked No. 1 in the state of Tennessee by GasBuddy, putting it in the bottom group of contenders for the GasBuddy crown.
Using GasBuddy criteria, privately owned QuikTrip comes in No. 1 in 8 states, the most of any gas station convenience chain. QuikTrip, with 740 stores, ranks No. 11 with CSP. Tied for No. 2 at GasBuddy with top ratings in 5 states each are privately owned Wawa with 730 stores and Casey’s General Stores Inc. with 1,931 locations.
Why Ratings Matter
For owners and operators of gas station convenience stores as well as investors who want to exert stock-boosting influence, ratings through organizations like GasBuddy make a real difference. According to GasBuddy 8 out of 10 users said they would consider returning to a store if they received a personal response to their complaint.
Thanks to social media and apps like GasBuddy, reviews and ratings are now a “thing.” Since GasBuddy started collecting ratings and reviews its user have submitted more than 7 million individual station and convenience store ratings along with hundreds of thousands of written reviews. That data consumers use.
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Taking A Data Dive
Digging a little deeper into GasBuddy statistics reveals that 74% of users actively rate convenience stores and 75% find ratings and reviews helpful when choosing where to stop. A full 69% of users avoid stores with less than 3 stars and 43% read only 1-3 reviews before forming an opinion.
Even absent a personal response, 72% of users consider revisiting a store if their complaint or problem is addressed quickly. Also, almost 70% of customers disregard reviews more than 30 days old. This puts pressure on stores to do their best to encourage customers to rate and review their store frequently.