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AACS Innovation challenge now open

Last year’s winners were from QUT School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations. Image: Supplied

University students are invited to test their talent for innovation in the 2017 AACS Convenience Innovation Challenge, which is offering a $3000 prize to the first place winner.

This is the fourth year that the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores has run the challenge, which is unique in the Petrol and Convenience sector, according to AACS CEO Jeff Rogut.

Mr Rogut said university students were invited to tackle one of the following questions:

  • Intense competition amongst supermarkets has seen aggressive price competition develop. How should Convenience Stores respond and promote or change their offers to demonstrate that they offer value to their customers?
  • Technology in the retail industry continues to evolve. How should Convenience Stores utilise emerging technologies to grow their businesses and create greater customer loyalty?
  • Attracting and retaining staff is a challenge that faces many businesses. What steps should Convenience Stores take to make their industry and culture seen as a more desirable place for employment?

“As an industry we need to innovate to develop and secure our future and the future of the many people our industry employs, as well as to continue to provide consumers with choice and value in convenience shopping,” Mr Rogut said.

“Innovation is about applying new ideas to create value by improving what you do and how you do it. Convenience stores are always open, and as an industry we are opening our doors to an innovative future.

“We are seeking fresh, unencumbered, innovative and deliverable ideas as to how our industry might position itself for the future in the wake of the known challenges we face, as well as new challenges that may be around the corner.

“Given our focus on innovation, it hardly makes sense for us to dictate how you engage with your students to participate in this challenge. You will therefore have the flexibility to administer the challenge in any way you see fit, as previous challenges prove this drives the best outcomes.”

AACS highlighted the importance of the petrol and tobacco categories as major volume drivers, as well the challenges faced by such products, and also pointed out the ever-growing influence of health and wellness trends on impulse snacking demand.

The challenge is open to individual, undergraduate students only, who are expected to make submissions no longer than 1000 words, and be able to make a 10 minute presentation as a successful runner-up.

The first prize is $3000 and a trophy, second place wins $1500, and third place wins $1000. Winners will be featured in Convenience and Impulse Retailing magazine.

Entries can be sent to jeff@aacs.org.au until the closing date of 16 June 2017.

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