As a convenience store owner, it is important to always be looking for new ways to market your business. National chains are stepping up their c-store game, and even larger companies like Amazon are getting into the mix. The smart play is to become more proactive in the marketing department and to reach customers in ways that resonate with them.
Don’t have a marketing degree? That’s fine. Here are a few tried and true c-store marketing strategies that you can implement today.
Bank on Breakfast Time
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don’t sleep on it. Rather, make breakfast work for you throughout the day! Sound strange? Here’s what we mean:
While breakfast time is peak hours for people to get their morning coffee, a pastry, a banana, or whatever they like, you can also promote the same items for sale throughout the day. This is a winning strategy for a couple of reasons:
- Breakfast items are a natural sale item early in the morning, however people eat donuts and drink coffee no matter what time it is. Keep the promotion going full-time and further entice your customers
- Breakfast snacks (such as donuts) typically cost less than “late-night snacks” such as pizzas, wings, or other meal replacement snacks. By keeping your promotion running around the clock you’ll nudge customers towards higher profit items such as coffee or pastries.
- Breakfast snack items such as baked goods or fruit have a much shorter shelf than a bag of pretzels. By pushing these items, you’ll be able to rotate stock and keep your fresh items fresher.
In the morning, you can pair a coffee with a doughnut for a great promotion that can easily be set up with CStorePro’s price book management feature. Keep the promotion going all day and catch the nighttime coffee crowd in the same net.
Promote Your Products at the Pump
Customers who are pumping gas are a captive audience. They’re tired from driving all day or have a long way to go back home. What’s more, they will be hungry or thirsty or even more so, tired. This is a great opportunity to get them to purchase an energy drink, coffee, or another snack to keep them satisfied.
Utilize pump topper signs or screens to showcase your in-store promotions. Entice them with deals tailored to specific messages, i.e: “need a boost?” “tired from driving?” “still have a long way to go?”, etc.
Don’t Forget To Stay In Touch
It’s important to remember that when building a customer base and establishing your brand; your work isn’t done at the close of the sale. Staying in touch with your audience is essential, especially in a world dominated by online activity.
Social media is a fantastic tool for building a community of customers and staying in touch with their needs. It is a low-cost, yet highly effective platform for engaging with customers, informing them of special events, or gathering feedback on your various activities.
Beyond that, creating a customer e-mail list is a snap with modern POS systems. Simply have customers enter their e-mail address and use that list to send regular e-mails promoting your store, products, promotions, and events.
Loyalty cards are also a winning strategy for reaching customers of all demographics. Loyalty programs incentivize your customers to shop more (or more frequently) and are offered at no cost (yet plenty of rewards!) to the consumer.
Today, staying in touch is vital to the business/consumer relationship, so don’t drop the ball and keep touch points of communication with your customers open!
Now Go Get Your Customers!
Marketing is one aspect of convenience store management that you can have fun with while also producing a tangible effect on your performance. Be creative, think outside the box, and enjoy yourself. Where possible, measure your results and take note of what works (and what doesn’t).
Have fun with it. Now start your marketing mind and go get your customers!