It’s the mantra of every retailer: Providing customers what they want will keep them coming back and increase revenue. It sounds easy enough, but do you really know what your customers want? Or more importantly, do you understand them at all to know how to turn them into loyal customers? Most convenience store owners rely on the data provided by their vendors to develop an understanding of their customer needs, which is a good start, but the problem is it only tells you just one side of the story.
Here we have provided some useful tips to help you better understand your customers and improve your convenience store management:
You Need to Know How Long Your Customers Stay in your Store
According to a study, an average customer spends about 5 minutes or less shopping in c-stores. You should observe to know how your customers compare to this figure. Depending on whether the average time is lower or higher, you may get valuable insights into your c-store customers to get a better understanding of their shopping behavior and purchasing decisions.
While you need to keep in mind that you should never cause inconvenience to your customers by stopping or slowing them down on purpose, you should look for engagement opportunities where you can have a conversation with them. Some good points to talk to your customers are when they are standing in the checkout line, pumping gas, approach you for assistance, leaving your store to go back to their car, etc.
No one likes to be bombarded with questions; make sure you keep it concise and to the point, and limit the number of questions to a bare minimum. You may ask them a different question per week, until you gather enough data to get an idea about the needs of your customers, what is important to them, what may compel them to go to your competitors, what they like and dislike about your store, etc. The best way is to introduce yourself, start the conversation with something casual, and subtly place your questions to extract answers, which will allow you to get a feel you know your customers more personally.
Item Velocity can Provide Useful Insights
Item velocity is a term used for determining the length of time a range of particular items stays on the shelves before a sale is made. While you must be keeping an eye on your shelves for inventory management purposes, you should also pay attention to how fast an item is selling. It will provide you with useful information about the types of customers and the things they like to buy the most from your convenience store.
The Average Amount of Money Each Customer Spends
Another good way to learn about the purchasing decisions of your customers is to find out how much each of them spends while shopping at your c-store. It can also help you to make decisions for your own inventory and convenience store management. For example, if customers usually buy fuel and one other item, let’s say a pack of cigarettes, you know most of them prefer to purchase a small item with the essentials. With this information, you can gear your purchasing decisions in a particular direction.
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