Grow your c-store business. Just thinking about all the shifts of consumer behavior since COVID-19 entered the scene in March 2020 can make you dizzy. From sheltering-at-home and wanting deliveries to curbside pickup and then finally feeling back to “normal,” it seems that trends have shifted significantly every few months as new pandemic developments impact various regions of the country. To complicate matters more, convenience stores across the United States have been merging, consolidating, and expanding–making it tougher to maintain and grow your share of the market.
A few trends have emerged throughout the chaos that are likely to stick around for the foreseeable future. If you’re searching for ways to grow your c-store business, these ideas represent sound strategies to achieve greater profitability.
Clean, Safe, and Family Friendly – Grow Your C-Store Business
Between consumers becoming hyper-aware of sanitation from the pandemic and the abundance of brand-new convenience stores popping up in cities everywhere, shoppers seek clean and safe locations–for the consumer and their children. In fact, Technomic recently reported that 51% of consumers choose “kid-friendly” stores, and 41% of them go so far as to indicate the type of music played in the store is an essential factor.
To assess where your business is on the clean, safe, and family-friendly spectrum, start with an inspection of your store’s exterior. Create a checklist including items for identifying lights that should be replaced, required repairs to the building and other structures, repainting the parking lot, cleaning windows and roofs, sweeping debris, clear signage, etc.
Next, consider all the indoor elements that create a friendly and safe atmosphere. Do store employees greet customers as they enter? Are shelves neat and stocked? Are floors mopped and swept? Are the bathrooms clean and sanitized? Do fixtures need repair or replacement? Are adult products such as liquor, beer, cigarettes, and magazines inaccessible to children?
Food and Beverage Selections
When you’re strategizing how to achieve more c-store sales, two important elements must be addressed: how to get more customers into your store and how to keep them in the store longer to have more time to browse your shelves.
One way to achieve both of these things is to evaluate your prepared food and beverage selections. Offering delicious, prepared coffee selections (mocha, cappuccino, Americano, etc.) in the morning does several things: it makes your store smell comforting, it creates a reputation amongst commuters looking for quality coffee on the way to work, and people have to wait while you’re making it.
The same thing goes for prepared food at lunch. The smell of fresh, fried chicken makes customers feel comfortable and hungry–two states of being that will lead to browsing and shopping while waiting for their orders to be prepared. Plus, 25% of customers who purchase in-store prepared food will stay to eat on-site–especially if your location is clean, safe, and family-friendly!
One element of human life that hasn’t changed is how busy families are. In fact, after surviving remote learning, working from home, and limiting exposure to others for over a year, people are quickly creating new, busy schedules again. Adults are returning to the office, kids are back at work, everyone participates in sports or gym memberships, and schedules are filling up fast. Those convenience stores that can fulfill more needs in one visit will have a competitive advantage over other locations.
Consider how many of these needs you fulfill for your customers:
- Conventional gasoline fill-ups
- EV-charging stations
- Grab and go meals
- Prepared, cooked meals
- Fresh produce
- Organic food selections
- Car wash
- CBD products
- Prepared/menu coffee service
- Prepared/menu smoothies
- Dished-out ice cream or single-serve selections
- Wifi service
- Sit-down cafe area
By offering more services, your business can transform into a local community hub where people know your business can meet all their needs quickly in one stop.
Looking for ways to grow your business?
GP Energy can help. We work with convenience store owners every day to help them understand the needs of their local customers and implement product lines and services to increase their bottom-line profitability. By partnering with GP Energy, we can help your business unlock its potential with new opportunities and achieve unimaginable success. Contact us today, and let’s get started.