The Importance Of Timely Product Updates For Your C-Store Distribution

October 29, 2014

Convenience stores for long have been the lifeline of city neighborhoods and far flung communities in providing them essentials of all kinds. Customers have shopped from their favorite convenience stores for years and have tolerated problems like long queues at checkout and crowded parking lots with good humor. These stores have also played a major role in helping communities with local issues and charities and over the decades have become an integral part of society.


In recent years convenience store chains have been facing competition from mass merchandisers, dollar stores and also local grocers who are stocking products based on consumer demand. In current scenario convenience stores have to show their commitment to customer convenience by drafting a strategy to make their shopping experience a pleasure. Store managers have to include services like wide assortment of products, checkout time, parking layout, work hours and rapid solution to customer problems.


The toughest job for any convenience store owner or manager is managing inventory and managing the daunting task of controlling stocks to ensure that nothing goes waste and stocks are available for customers when desired. In this task they are assisted by wholesalers and distributors who deliver them required stocks when needed and on most occasions by online order. C store distributors work with wholesale distributors and merchandisers on a one to one basis to review sales graphs of products on display and to understand consumer demand.


Challenges that are faced by store owners on a regular basis to meet consumer demand


  1. Inventory Management – To keep their customers happy and profits on a steady growth path, c store managers have to ensure timely replenishment of fast moving products and creating a demand for new products entering the market. Besides stocking adequate quantity of products, store managers also have to keep right products on the store shelves where the shopper will expect to see them. Convenience store chains should work with specialists who supply few high specialty products and also large distributors of various products to maintain the right mix of goods which will be required by their customers.
  2. Timely delivery to Market – Understanding customer requirements and ensuring that they reach the store shelves when required are two interconnected challenges that every store manager has to face. Wholesale distributors across interstate markets are able to advice stores on upcoming trends and also inform them about product rankings so that their clients have appropriate selection of items on their shelves.
  3. Replacement of damaged and spoiled merchandise – To maintain profits stores have to maintain an agreement with their distributors to replace stock which has expired or had flaws hence cannot be sold to customers. This will ensure that relationship on both sides remains cordial and customers get fresh products. With growing demand for ready to eat fresh products, convenience stores are working with local distributors to pick up farm products as fresh as possible to reduce chances of these perishable goods getting spoilt.
  4. Maintaining profitable relationship with distributors – C store distributors have to set up a data based approach to procuring and supplying products to their clients. They know that larger chain stores have greater ability to store multiple quality products across their stores with different price ranges due to their wider customer base compared to single store operators and maintain their supply adequately. Both large stores and single grocery stores depend upon distributors to keep their stores competitive and filled with products desired by customers.
  5. Product knowledge and sales – Distributors know that a store has to understand product qualities to help the push them to their clientele. They work with store managers and owners to develop a profitable partnership which will help manufacturers to sell their products to buyers. Distributors may sometimes arrange for demonstrations by manufacturers at c stores and grocers to help buyers and sellers understand the utility of the product better. Distributors rely on informative sales materials and sales portal to help retailers order products and take advantage of special offers during festival season and off season.


Grocers and large chain stores know that having a thorough understanding of market and consumer demands are essential to succeed in this competitive business. They have learnt through experience that focusing on core customer base is essential for remaining competitive in a price for value market. In recent years many small scale grocery chains have been absorbed by large chains making them more competitive and enhancing consumer shopping experience. Distributors have to ensure timely product update to clients for mutually beneficial profits. This helps stores manage their clients’ needs in an effective manner and cut off inefficient processes.


Benefits of timely product updates

  1. High productivity and low inventory – If convenience stores are able to understand the requirements of their clients well they can squeeze logistics and inventory to improve business and reduce wastage. This technique of keeping low inventory will keep cost benefit ratio high but can lead to problems during a crisis when supply is hit due to natural disasters or other external reasons.
  2. Managing competition – Ability to plan and manage stock will also help to manage increasing competition from grocery store chains distributors and supermarkets. With low import duties some c-store chains are able to low cost products from international manufacturing destinations and sell them at a higher rate due to lower currency value. To compete with these techniques others in the area also resort to similar measures.
  3. Space management – They are able to fill up empty spaces in stores as they know the exact quantity of stocks available in each store through electronic databases. This also helps them check on fraudulent activities that some store managers might indulge in to avoid payment of stocks.


Both large and stand-alone convenience stores today need someone who can understand the double challenge of competition and meeting customers’ requirements and converting them into profitable opportunities. Though technology has helped C-store distributors to handle these challenges to a great extent they still have to optimize every nuance of their bundle of services to make profits.