Cleanliness is the number one reason consumers choose a convenience store, according to new research from The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research. Chain convenience stores with a reputation for trustworthiness and stores known for great customer service are more likely to be sought out by shoppers. In addition, new data reveals that more people are opting for convenience over saving money, with a shift toward spending more but saving time rather than saving money by shopping around. This shift in consumer shopping habits may be good news for convenience stores, said Randy Wahl, executive vice president of M/A/R/C. “Convenience stores have an opportunity to draw a larger number of shoppers if they focus on a few of the fundamental factors.” These include providing a clean store and improving the overall shopping experience. “The Checkout” report found that 28% of June 2009 shoppers describe themselves as “preferring to spend more if it saves them time.” This was up from 23% in May. Additionally, the number of customers (28%) who responded that “saving money by shopping around” was their top preference fell from 33% the month prior. The monthly report, which surveyed 1,200 adults, also found that consumers are now more comfortable with using credit cards than in recent months. Twenty-six percent preferred to buy on credit instead of waiting to purchase later, up from 23% in May. When asked about their top criteria for selecting a store, “accepts my credit or bank cards” increased 4% compared to the previous month. Other criteria related to convenience, such as “is easy for me to find the things I need” and “checkout is quick” saw notable increases when compared to earlier results. High price remains the top reason for shoppers not to make purchases at 60%, but shopper concerns about finding exactly what they are looking for has almost matched it, at 59%. About half of shoppers (46%) bypass convenience stores if they believe the selection of goods is limited. “The majority of shoppers surveyed want to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible,” said Craig Elston, svp of Integer, in a statement. “Convenience stores often give time back to the consumer to do other things.” Source: “The Checkout” report, conducted by marketing firms The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, August 2009. Website: www.integer.com.