Twice as many shoppers now regularly use forecourts compared to two years ago, according to a new report from the Institute of Grocery Distribution’s shopper research programme. Entitled ’Forecourt Shoppers’, the research found that 15% of shoppers regularly use forecourts today, up from 7% in 2004. However, usage figures vary widely across the UK with shoppers in the north of England using forecourts the most and those in London, the least.

The IGD says forecourts need to convert more fuel-only buyers into food shoppers so that shopping in the forecourt becomes part of their routine. It therefore recommends that retailers target those people who make emergency purchases in forecourts by implementing supermarket tactics to catch their attention. This means turning the shopping trip into a positive experience through things like having baskets available and making aisles easy to navigate.

The research also found that most forecourt shoppers are single, which means ranges should be biased towards single portions and prepared products; and when it comes to promotions, price reductions and link-saves will be more effective than volume-driven mechanics.

Finally, forecourt stores need to boost their credibility as retailers of grocery lines, targeting those who are purchasing when buying fuel and those who use forecourts as their local store. The IGD says the fuel customers will need stimulation in store to encourage them to look around while the local shoppers need to see external advertising.