Boost Sales by Improving the Customer Experience in your C-Store
Your convenience stores likely look entirely different today than they did a year ago. That’s a good thing. The c-store industry changes rapidly, and you need to keep up by evolving your store and brand.
C-stores can always find more ways to improve. Each aspect of the store should be evaluated on a regular basis. This can include things like the layout, seating, signage, food and drink operations, and other in-store offerings.
The goal behind improvements should always be to meet the dynamic demands of your shoppers. Ultimately, you need to find the right blend of products, services, and technologies to improve the overall customer experience.
The uncertainty caused by the events of 2020 means customer experience will become an even greater differentiator for the c-store industry. Here’s how you can improve the customer experience in your c-store locations.
Minimize Missed Sales
According to this research from CSP Daily News, gas stations and c-stores saw a massive decline in visitors due to COVID-19. As states eased some restrictions in April and May of 2020, the numbers began to increase. However, foot traffic is clearly down compared to previous years. With foot traffic down in c-stores, you can’t afford to have customers walking out without making a purchase.
To overcome this, you must have the right products in stock in all your locations. As with many elements related to managing a c-store, this is much easier said than done. Identifying the right products is challenging for even the most experienced convenience store operator for a variety of reasons. Maybe you can relate to some of these:
- You can’t always stock the exact product that every customer expects.
- Customers don’t buy (or always buy) similar products in a different brand.
- Vendors can’t ship and high-demand SKUs are often back-ordered.
If these are common challenges you are facing, you aren’t alone. Many c-store owners struggle with the same issues. One thing is clear: when you have the right products in the right place, you will increase sales.
4R’s Assortment Optimization solution helps c-stores model demand for products in a category by their attributes to find the best products to offer for each store location. The solution can also help forecast similar products c-store shoppers will select when the first choice is unavailable, so you will always have the right products in-stock.
Seasons Change, Demands Change
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas will be here before we know it. New seasons bring about changes in customer shopping habits and expectations. Changing seasons are also accompanied by varying weather patterns.
In the summer, shoppers may stop in your c-store on their way to a pool party looking to buy sunscreen. This is something that you should have in-stock. In locations where more rain occurs during certain times of the year, umbrellas might be good to have on hand.
C-store shoppers often buy on impulse. Convenience stores can meet impulsive demands by understanding the seasonality spikes specific to a SKU in a particular store. However, using instinct or traditional forecasting methods to predict what inventory to carry won’t work. By using sophisticated machine learning, c-stores can forecast what should be in stock at every store at every instance to meet consumer demand.
Instead of guessing, 4R’s AI powered seasonal allocation solution determines which products to send to each store location based on regional differences and consumer demand. 4R’s seasonal allocation solution helps c-store operators find the perfect timing and store location to maximize profit.
Need a Refill (or a Light)?
No one likes it when their drink is empty! Make sure high-demand items, like alcohol and tobacco, are always-in-stock. Tobacco is an inelastic product, especially in the midst of COVID-19.
This article on Convenience Store News reports that tobacco products are seeing strong growth since 2019, and that consumers were purchasing more expensive tobacco products overall in August 2020.
Alcohol sales have also increased amid COVID-19. According to CSP Daily News, “during the initial panic-buy period, the wine category saw the same consumer pantry-loading behaviors as other categories like paper towels and shelf-stable goods.”
Now more than ever, c-stores need to have the right brands available and have them in-stock consistently. Figuring out the timing of when to place orders and how many cases of beer or cigarettes you should get is impossible to do accurately without the right solutions.
4R’s Omni-Channel Replenishment solution can help c-stores eliminate the guesswork and understand true demand. This will help drive replenishing the right items every time, even during a pandemic. Also, most c-stores have very limited space. 4R’s Replenishment solution helps ensure you don’t overstock while ensuring the right amount of inventory is on hand to stay in stock on all SKUs.
4R is dedicated to helping the convenience store industry stay strong during COVID and beyond. With our SaaS model, there are no upfront software license fees, hardware hosting costs, or complex training required. All of our solutions can be implemented quickly without the need for additional hardware or IT resources.
Contact us today by calling (610) 644-1234 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how 4R is 4C-stores.