While all convenience stores serve the same essential purpose, some locations fare better than others. This is why it’s very common for two convenience stores to be located on opposite corners, with identical gas prices, and yet each store will likely have a very specific demographic. One business may even fare significantly better than the other. Why?
Convenience stores are known for quantity over quality, and while it may seem that they are all fundamentally alike, some stand out to consumers for all the right reasons. These reasons will vary, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to creating an in-store experience that resonates with your customers. In this article, we explore four ways you can enhance the customer experience to maximize income potential in your convenience store.
Put your Customers First
Sounds simple right? When your customer is first, it shows. This doesn’t mean you bend over backward to make every customer happy. Instead, “customer first” means that your c-store, from the highest manager to the overnight stocking employee, intentionally focuses their job on providing the best possible customer experience. For the stocker, this could mean ensuring that empty boxes are never on the floor during peak business hours. For someone higher up in the company, it could be new strategic policies or updated procedures that improve the customer shopping experience.
Engage the Senses
Look for ways to engage your customers with positive sensory experiences - from the look and feel of the floor mats when they walk in, to the music that plays as they check out.
Bucc-ees is a Texas-based, larger-than-life rest stop. Within the rest stop industry, they’ve been known by many to have some of the cleanest restrooms in the United States. Their stores include features such as a gift shop section to clothing and delicious freshly chopped brisket sandwiches. Everything about the experience is meant to draw the customer in through sensory engagement.
You’ll also want to consider the color of your convenience store fixtures. We recommend highlighting gondola shelving displays with color that will grab customer’s attention and set your store apart from the competition.
Get in the Zone
Successful retailers understand that a store is broken up into different zones. By recognizing which zones are in your convenience store, and having a strong understanding of what customers do in each zone, you can improve their shopping experience, anticipate their zone needs, and ultimately boost sales.
A straightforward way to accomplish this is through shelving and fixtures. Use shelving to denote specific zones and to draw customers from one zone to the next. Work with our experts to develop the best layout and strategic shelving for your store so that you can make the most of your sales potential.
Offer Something Unique
Consumers know which convenience store has the shortest lines, the cleanest restrooms, the friendliest employees, and the special drink/snack they like to treat themselves to once a week.
According to a 2019 survey by GasBuddy, 1 in 4 Americans spends $6 -10 per week on convenience store foodservice. Although it’s necessary to provide an outstanding shopping experience for your customers, the ability to supply products they genuinely want is a vital part of running a successful business.
Every retail store - including convenience stores - offers something unique. Find out what yours is. If it’s okay, capitalize on it. If it’s not up to standard or doesn’t exceed customer expectations, fix it and find something that makes your c-store stand out in a positive way that will ensure repeat business.