Having a consistent flow of customers through the doors of your convenience store requires using marketing tools that will result in repeat business. Rather than waiting to see what the larger chain convenience stores are doing down the street, taking a proactive marketing approach can help convenience store owners stay ahead of the competition.
Convenience store owners understand it can be a challenge to increase sales, especially if they own a small independent store. There is remarkable competition. No matter whether you are located in an urban, suburban, or rural area, convenience store owners are forced to cater to the needs of every type of consumer and repeat or regular customers are often hard to come by. In addition, convenience stores are open long hours (sometimes even 24) and have to offer items that are relevant to each part of the day and night.
The convenience store game is quickly changing, and you can only succeed if you evolve with it. Here are some ideas convenience store owners can use to increase their chances of making a profit and gain more customers:
- Offer delivery services
- Offer better food
- Partner with local farms
- Healthy and Guilty Food Pairings
- Brand Yourself with Something Unique
- Offer High-End Travel Necessities
- Use Strategic Pricing
- Keep Spotless Bathrooms
- Offer alcoholic beverages
- Cater to All Consumer Demographics
Offer Delivery Services
More and more American consumers are ordering their products online and getting them delivered. Convenience stores will greatly benefit from the online ordering and deliver business. Online ordering services such as Post-mates, Seamless, Door Dash and the countless others can offer customers your most popular snacks with just a few clicks.
Offer Better Food
The average consumer is much more concerned with the quality and sourcing of their food than ever before. Offering better food options than your competitors is a leveraging tool, convenience store owners can take advantage of. Consumers want to buy and taste food that is of high quality and that tastes amazing. Conducting market research based on convenience store location is highly recommended, so store owners know what their target demographic is eating on occasion.
Partner with Local Farms
Offering just a few products from local farmers can put your convenience store on the map. You can provide essential products to your customers such as milk, eggs, and bread just to name a few, and this lets consumers know you are thinking about their needs.
Healthy and Guilty Food Pairings
There are many different approaches to this one, but some stores are offering promotions of healthy items and not so health items. By offering product combos of one healthy item and one guilty pleasure, convenience stores can potentially see a rise in sales of their more health conscious (and typically more expensive) product. This is a sales strategy to convince the consumer that the healthier alternative may be the right purchase.
Brand Yourself with Something Unique
Even if it does not sell, offering a product that makes your convenience store stand out from the rest is a great way of marketing your convenience store. Focusing on a particular food item, or unique service will make your convenience considerably attractive to consumers.
Offer Higher-End Travel Necessities
Convenience stores are often quick stops for travelers, many of whom managed to forget a cell phone charger, headphones, or spare batteries. Offering plenty of travel options is a great strategy. You can include some higher-end or brand name products. Knock off chargers are frustrating, and many people will pay a pretty penny for the real deal.
Use Strategic Pricing Strategies
Like any retail stores, convenience stores can decide how prices are structured and where items are placed around the store. You can offer a good deal on quality products in your convenience store by offering product bundles, discounts, and limited time offers just to name a few.
Keep Spotless Bathrooms
Do not let your convenience store be that place where customers do not want to come back again. Make your mark by being known as the place that always has an impeccably clean bathroom. This will let customers know, as a convenience store owner, you care about sanitation and product presentation.
Offer Alcoholic Beverages
There are some consumers that have an ever-present demand for booze. Drinkers are craving more variety than ever. The inventory does not spoil and by open to offering products at your store that are not available anywhere else.
Cater to All Consumer Demographics
As a convenience store owner, you want to cater to every type of consumer. Convenience stores have the luxury of attracting nearly every demographic out there, and you have the opportunity to market to all of them, it can be a challenge, but it is a goof problem to have.
There a few simple marketing tools that any convenience store owner can use to optimize his or her business and reach more customers:
Twitter and Facebook
Using social media to build a following makes using Facebook and Twitter important tools for reaching Internet-savvy customers who need a reminder to stop by your store. Instead of constantly mentioning store promotions that come off as a barrage of annoying advertisements, add value by offering specials to followers. For example, post a secret word good for that day to get a discount when they buy certain items, such as beverages or hot deli food. Running contests for free food or drinks on Facebook gives you an additional way to reach a larger audience. Just ask your followers to share your posts to increase the buzz.
Loyalty programs reward your best customers, so they keep coming back to your store. One way to build loyalty at your store is to offer coupons that offer special deals.
Appealing to users of smartphones gives you a way to offer interactivity while customers are perusing the shelves of your store. Use mobile applications to recommend products like car washes and cold drinks on hot summer days. The key to successfully using mobile marketing is to use applications that work on all phones. Otherwise, you may lose customers who feel frustrated with not being able to download your message due to the application’s limitations.
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