Excited for the new year? Here are resolutions for c-stores to make in 2018.
Excited for the new year? Here are resolutions for c-stores to make in 2018.

The new year is in full swing. And as custom holds, there's no better time to make a few resolutions to improve your c-store operations. Unlike the masses that hit the gym for a few weeks in January and tend to flake out around March, c-store managers need to stay dedicated to seeing their resolutions through.

There's much at stake. In a world constantly buffeted by the changing winds of technology and customer preferences, c-stores have to optimize and strengthen their operations to remain competitive. Formulating a resolution is only half the battle. Operators must also consider the tools they need to accomplish each objective. For more guidance on that, here are three New Year's resolutions any c-store should make and the realistic steps they need to take to reach them.

Resolution #1: Serve your customers better

Providing the best service possible to your customers is always a priority, but something c-stores find increasingly difficult to accomplish. Consumers have more choices than ever, as well as higher expectations for the businesses they frequent (like having mobile pay options). It can be tough to meet their wants and needs, but not impossible.

Key to serving your customers better is learning more about them. With this knowledge, you can develop strategies that appeal directly to their preferences. This begins with gaining enhanced inventory control and insight. While the connection between better service and improved inventory management may seem vague at first, the bonds are clear.

With an upgraded inventory system, managers can gather data on customer purchases that show what products they prefer. This helps c-stores optimize their stock to ensure in-demand products are always in supply, leading to a more positive customer experience. Seeing which goods are frequently purchased can also help you create promotions that customers will value.

Resolution #2: Get your supply chain in order

An important part of getting your c-store in shape for 2018 involves ensuring your relationships with partners are similarly optimized. Your operations need to run smoothly, and there's only so much you can control if a supply chain partner's troubles disrupt your day-to-day activities.

For c-store owners, this resolution particularly relates to the fuel supply chain. A notoriously complex process for c-store owners to manage, fuel supply chain management can be improved with advanced tools that help you manage relationships and increase oversight.

For instance, advanced tools (like tank sensors that alert you when supplies are low and re-ordering is needed) give c-store owners the type of responsiveness and insight they need to ensure suppliers contribute to success instead of block it.

Resolution #3: Focus on data 

In today's technology-tinged landscape, data has become the currency of high-performing operations. You've likely heard a lot about big data, but perhaps questioned what use it has for c-stores.

In reality, c-stores, just like any type of business, stand to benefit greatly from data collection. Data informs everything nowadays, and the insights that can be extracted from the raw numbers can point c-stores in the direction of strengths to build on, or weaknesses to correct.

One thing to remember through all this is not all data is created equally. To make the most of data, c-stores need an enterprise system that can accurately gather, organize and generate reports on clean data. There's no substitute for the high-level insight possible through data that such a solution can provide.

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. Click here to learn how PDI can help you thrive in today's digital economy.