Shell, the modern c-store

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Shell, the modern c-store

By Louisa Hallett - 10/03/2018
Here is why Shell’s prototype is disrupting consumer expectations.

Shell disrupts customer convenience store expectations with its new prototype store.

Designed by Bona Labs, the prototype store, known as Shell Select - located in Louisville,  provides a consumer-focused retail convenience store experience to customers featuring a broad range of high-quality, locally inspired, freshly prepared food and beverage offerings, all served in a relaxing and friendly environment, according to Shell.

"We are excited to offer a new and unique experience for our customers," said Gyongyver Menesi-Bondar, Head of Convenience Retail for Shell Oil Products US. "Shell Select is different from traditional convenience stores in that it provides high-quality, fresh, culinary-inspired food and beverage options for customers who are on the go, and it also provides the ability to get in and out at your own pace without being slowed and without feeling rushed."

The U.S. prototype was created for the site of a former Thornton's fuel and convenience store location that was acquired by Estepp Energy. Although the original store structure was retained, it received a complete redesign of the exterior and interior as well as a new layout. The thrust of the overall design, Bona said, was to create a strong food and beverage presentation that includes local touches and products.

Inside the store, layout and design work together to put the focus on the consumable offerings. Customers entering the store immediately find self-serve beverages situated to their left, while facing an array of food products that fill the back wall. Although the store footprint measures 2,221 square feet, an open ceiling and the layout help create a space that feels spacious and is easy to navigate.

Future proofing any retail business is a tall order these days given the pace of technology driven change and rapidly evolving consumer preferences. It is especially complicated for global energy company Royal Dutch Shell and its expansive Shell Retail Operation led by Executive Vice President István Kapitány. The 30 year Shell veteran leads a team that oversees a global network of 43,000 locations in 80 countries with 500,000 employees. To add an extra layer of complexity, Shell’s operating model includes a mix of company owned, dealer owned, wholesale and licensed stores that varies by geography. Shell’s iconic logo is already found on more locations globally than Starbucks or McDonalds and the company has ambitious expansion plans to execute at a time when the internal combustion engine is under assault.

“We are always adapting our retailing capabilities to the changing world and believe it is a great opportunity for us because of the scale and size of the business,” Kapitány said. “Some markets are close to the 50 percent goal and some are far away, but one of the benefits of Shell’s global scale is that we can learn from each other. Whatever works in one country we can transfer that knowledge to another country.”

Shell said it anticipates rolling out additional Shell Select locations throughout the U.S. in the coming years.