There are probably several convenience stores along any of the routes you take on a weekly or daily basis, but you have your favorite. You chose one, for some reason or another, to patronize. It can be something as simple as a smiling face at the register, clean floors, or they always have your favorite slushy. Whatever it is, it keeps you coming back.
Consistency in the C-Store industry is essential. It’s very easy to lose customer loyalty to the guy down the street. With a higher than average amount of products and very heavy foot traffic, successfully managing a gas station is nearly impossible without the right people and tools. Here are several ways to keep your customers coming back.
First Impressions Are Everything
If the outside of your station is littered with cups and trash, passer byers will do just that, pass by. A messy, littered outside indicates poor management. Be sure you’re doing a parking lot walk every hour, including managing trash cans and update cracked or faded signage regularly.
Be sure your lighting is adequate and monitored. Most newer systems come on automatically, but those bulbs don’t change themselves. Make this part of your hourly parking lot walk sweep checklist –look for burned out bulbs.
At the Pump
I don’t know about you but I’ve blacklisted gas stations with pumps that run at painfully slow speeds. Especially in bad weather, it can seem like decades! Be sure your pumps are running at a reasonable rate. Also be sure your windshield cleaning stations are stocked with fluid and paper towels.
Offer Stellar Customer Service
C-Store regulars are a lot like restaurant or bar regulars. They want to be remembered, they want you to know their name and use it. They want to see a familiar smile. This is the simplest most cost effective action item in encouraging customer loyalty.
Keep It Stocked
Keeping a fully stocked inventory isn’t just appealing to the eyes, buyers are actually more likely to buy something when it is in abundance. Keeping your beverage station fully stocked tells your customers it hasn’t been long since you visited the station, meaning their coffee and donuts are fresh.
Again, foot traffic is very high in this industry, so keeping a gas station or convenience store clean and organized has to be everyone’s job. Peak times can get crazy and leave little to no time for maintenance. Don’t fight it, instead, staff your store appropriately for those times so there is always someone dedicated to keeping it clean.
Keep Walkways Clear and Maintained
Firstly, the safety of your customers should be a real, daily concern. It’s a lot easier to prevent issues, than deal with them after an accident. Stay on top of all needed repairs, be sure walkways are plowed and salted in a timely manner, and do anything necessary to prevent potential injuries.