Convenience store business today is extremely challenging and competitive as consumer tastes are changing rapidly in almost every category. As a business owner of a convenience store you have to identify key categories which make up a majority of your store’s sales. You also have to keep yourself abreast of their sales on a weekly, monthly and annual basis so changes can be made. Use this information to monitor sales in every square foot of your store and its contribution to overall profits.
Every store owner whether he owns one or several has to keep track of profits from every category and space allocation within his stores which will help to gauge performance of every section and make changes in the slow moving areas.
Understanding the psychology that drives customers towards specific shelves and increase their impulses towards purchases have long been the bane of convenience store owners. According to estimates nearly 50 percent of sales in these stores are through products bought on impulse and profitable ones know how to tap into that to make more profits. The swelling numbers of convenience stores shows that smart sales techniques are in place that are guiding shoppers to them in increasing numbers.
These stores are working with wholesale grocery distributors and other convenience products to divert the mind of customers from their shopping lists and indulge in spontaneous decisions to make sensible bargains.
As a store owner you have to keep the following things in mind to maintain profitability.
1) Lowest and highest growth categories every year.
2) As beverage distribution has highest profits in most c-stores, check its contribution to your profits.
3) Does your store meet all demands of local customers who drive by or walk in from the neighborhood?
4) Check profit percentage of each category in your store towards the total profit. Try to increase quantity of that to see if the change brings more profits.
The convenience stores today rely on three specific strategies to maintain profits and expand business which are curtailing expenses, raising price margins or increasing sales. With constant change in categories and brands of products which are on display within your store, it is difficult to curtail expenses or raise price margins as that would have an adverse effect on customer service. Though the best way to increase sales is to ensure that buyers purchase more products than they actually intended to at the store. It can be done by four simple ways:
Attracting more customers to your store – This may be the most difficult tactic to increase sales, but it is the most critical of all sales boosting strategies as only this will ensure that your c-store has a future. As a store owner your can increase advertising on online and offline media and create more awareness in local communities about your products. Being a risky investment you should monitor the cost and effect of advertising and target customers who shop at competitors, so they share their income with your store. Attractive eye-catching signage and point of sales materials is a sure way to attract more customers to your place. When signs are placed in convenient locations then people tend to remember forgotten items and purchase them on the way out. This kind of cross signage can be done for new beverages which are always in demand at convenience stores in consultation with beverage distributors.
Making your regular customers visit your store often – This can happen only if you are aware about your regular customers and know how to reach them to share information about new products in the store or reward them for their loyalty. Maintain rapport with regulars by greeting them and showing new merchandise or even asking them about new products they would like to see at your store. Never let your regulars leave without a few helpful extras which will drive new business to your store. Talk to experts like Convenience Store Brokers who have years of experience about products that fly off the shelves and you will definitely have customers coming to your store more often.
Encouraging your customers to buy more – Cross merchandizing is a regular trick used by convenience stores to get people to buy more products than they actually came to purchase. Most people love combinations whether it is food and beverages or cigarettes and lighters and several other interesting choices that cleverly arranged merchandize can help them purchase more. You can use experts like food distributors to design your food merchandise and other products around the store to create interesting combo deals.
Using technology to understand their impulse – When designing strategies to encourage impulse buying for increasing sales, convenience stores have to use technical media like smartphones and internet in an intelligent manner. Solutions using social media and internet marketing and interactive media will encourage shoppers to carry out impulse shopping at the time when they require. Stores use seasonal offerings and special sales as lures to switch impulse of buyers to make the purchase when they enter the store by targeting their previous online and offline purchases.
A convenient store need not have all the latest products in place nor offer deep discounts to increase sales, but rather an effective strategy to constantly entice and retain customers who continue to purchase from them. With wholesalers and distributors and brokers constantly trying to find out ways of how to get products into c stores you can collaborate with them to boost sales of your store. Innovative sales drive in retail stores can help push sales of slow moving goods, be it food products or other convenience items.
Displays are the best way to push food and beverage if you can cleverly place them in easy to reach shelves. Stores use analytic tools to identify clients’ impulses and previous purchases patterns and make changes in display strategies and store layout to promote products with special SKU’s so they can be picked up by customers on their way out.