Exterior convenience store
There are many ways to attract more customers and entice them to increase their spend at the pump and in your convenience store.

Are you looking to increase the number of customers and sales in your store? Are you unsure of the best ways for your c-store to accomplish this? No matter where your c-store is located, there are many ways to attract more customers and entice them to increase their spend at the pump and in your convenience store. Take a look at our five ways to boost traffic, increase sales and outperform your competition.

1. Research Your Closest Competition

Your site likely competes with several local c-stores. Researching these rivals is an important step towards increasing your sales and effectively improving your site’s competitive edge. Use these questions and actions to help identify areas of improvement so you can exceed the value you currently provide.

  • Based on location, what demographic of customer does the competitor serve?
  • What items/displays do they have on the register countertop?
  • Do they personalize their station or store? What impression does their décor give you?
  • What offers are they promoting with banners and signage?
  • Do they offer specialty aisles or aisle sections dedicated to an item category?
  • What are their customers buying when you visit their shop?
  • What items appear to be best sellers?
  • Do they have any promotional signage visible at pumps or visible from the road?
  • How do your fuel prices compare to theirs?
  • What extras do they offer (e.g. car wash, air/water, vacuum, pump attendants, etc.)?

Using the profile you’ve created based off the questions above, develop your own strategy to compete for specific customer demographics at your store. To refine your strategy, use the following questions to help you outperform your top competitors.

  • Do you directly compete for a specific customer demographic? What offers can you advertise outside your c-store to attract customers from this demographic?
  • Do you directly compete on top-selling items?
  • Do you have an advantage for serving a specific customer demographic?
  • What can your station offer to customers that the competitor cannot?
  • Can you offer deals on staple items that aren’t offered by your competitors?
  • Can you offer higher-quality specialty items or specialty items at a lower cost?

2. Know Your Customers and What they Want

Some items like USB chargers and hot coffee will be best sellers no matter where you’re located, but devoting more shelf and countertop space to items your customers want or need is a great way to increase c-store sales. It’s reasonable to expect a c-store along an interstate highway to have different customers than a c-store in a suburban area.

For example, a c-store with long-distance truckers as customers may offer personal grooming items to its customers and effectively increase sales. Or, if your c-store is near a school, devoted shelf space to high margin toys can drive sales.

3. Create a Better Customer Experience

Providing a better experience at your convenience store can increase customer spend and loyalty. There are simple changes you can make to your site to create a better customer experience, such as hiring friendly c-store attendants, maintaining clean restrooms, investing in landscaping for your c-store, ensuring your forecourt is well-lit, and providing free air and water to help earn repeat business. All of these items lead to a better customer experience and a better impression of your store.

4. Discounts/Specials

Offering discounts and specials can drive your customers towards larger purchases, more frequently. Discounts and specials are also some of the most effective tools to entice customers away from your competitors. You can provide discounts on seasonal items, your competitor’s best sellers, high-margin items, and closely-related items.

5. Use Eye-Catching Signage

Other than the gas prices you advertise, customers are comparing your station to others based on your c-store signage. To catch the eyes of customers and drive more traffic to your c-store, leverage the exterior of your station. Your signage could promote a freebie with a fill-up, promotional bundle, or advertisement for specialty/seasonal items inside your c-store.

These strategies can help increase your c-store sales. Experiment with the options that work best for your store to determine which are most effective in driving sales, then watch the results in real time. To ensure that you’re prioritizing items your customers will actually buy, always consult your back-office software’s inventory management report to determine best sellers. You can also use the sales volume information to track the effectiveness of any changes you make to your store.

Did You Know: Your Source for PDI News provided by PDI the leader in enterprise management software for the convenience retail and petroleum wholesale markets.