7 C-Store Merchandising Best Practices from Pump to Register

Posted by Laura Miller on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 @ 12:13 PM

With fuel sales steadily dropping, it is becoming more and more important to bring as many customers inside your convenience store as possible and to entice them to purchase. Marketing yourself as a quick place to grab fuel and go is not enough. Customers need to know that your location is not only the most convenient place to fuel up, but also the best place to grab lunch, a snack, or any other odds and ends they might need to pick up. We've compiled a list on the best ways to merchandise to encourage your customers to enter your store and purchase.


1. Strategic Advertising at the Pump
Use signage at the pump to direct customers to goodies kept in store. Advertising for candy or other confections is a popular method, but don't be afraid to think outside the box. Everyone knows that convenience stores carry snacks, but they might not know what other deals you have. What if someone is set on only getting fuel? Educating them on your loyalty program at the pump can be enough to bring them in store, especially if it means they get deals in return for regularly fueling at your location.

2. Clean and Uncluttered Windows
Nothing screams "shady appearance" like a store that you can't see into. Make sure your windows are clean and free from excessive advertising in order to make your store look more welcoming. Allowing customers to see what environment they can expect to walk into will make your store seem friendlier and more appealing.

3. Sampling
This underused yet very effective tactic gives your customers the option to consider new and unique food options while simultaneously boosting their appetite. It also keeps them in the store longer. Even if customers don’t purchase the product they taste, they spend more time looking around while eating their sample, which will often compel them to purchase other products as well.

4. Cross-Merchandise
This is key to raising your average item-per-transaction. An easy way to do this is by putting complimentary food items close to each other. For example, place your frozen pizzas near your two liter sodas. You can use our last tip, sampling, as another avenue for cross-merchandising by pairing two different products together within each sample. Offer a taste of some granola with your best-selling yogurt, chips with dip, or graham crackers dipped in Nutella. Get creative and have fun with it. Your customers will love the new ideas.

5. Keep Your Shelves Fully Stocked – But Still Tidy
Consumer studies show that neatly organized and fully stocked shelves sell the most. Don't let your shelves get crammed and cluttered with products, but also don't allow them to become sparse either. An overstuffed shelf communicates that products have been damaged or mishandled while a shelf that is sparsely populated communicates to customers that they only have leftovers to choose from. Get rid of as much empty space as possible without letting things get piled up.

6. Consistent Signage
Your signage should be consistent in size, layout, and font, and it should accurately represent your store's brand and image. Make it simple and straightforward with correct pricing, so that their are no uncomfortable surprises at the register. Use signage to give helpful information on products and services you offer.

7. Multiple Snack Sizes at Checkout
Last but not least, we recommend having both single and sharing sizes for snacks at checkout. The goal is to get as many customers to purchase last minute items at the register as possible, which means catering to all different types of needs. This includes the traveler wanting a small snack to hold them over until dinner, or the mother than wants a better deal by splitting a larger candy bar with her two kids. No one wants to go back into the store to find a better size of an impulse purchase. If they don't see the size option they prefer at the register, they most likely will not add the item to their purchase.

Are you interested in learning how convenience stores can leverage loyalty to benefit their business? Dowload our free guide:
Ultimate C-Store Guide to Loyalty


Tags: Convenience Stores