Cathy and I just got back from Indianapolis where we spent the week exhibiting and networking with those in the c-store industry. In a lot of ways tradeshows seem to be a bit “old world” but they offer education and networking opportunities that can help you stay up to date. The c-store industry is one that I am just starting to learn about and there is so much to learn. On Thursday morning I attended a session titled “Stay Fresh! Latest Strategies to Revive Your Bottom Line” with Michael Davis from NACS. From the title I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect but not only was Michael a great speaker he also offered great reminders for all industries beyond just the c-store space.
My four "stay fresh" take-aways from the presentation were:
1 – Know your customers – Michael focused a lot on the statistics about the c-store industry, who their best customers are and the demographic that they have the most trouble with. This is one of the benefits of a loyalty program that I often talk about in the blog. No matter what industry you are in knowing who your customers are helps you target your marketing and grow your business.
2 – The way your business looks is important – In the presentation Michael talked about keeping your c-store clean as well as stocked with the most popular products to entice customers. For Tecmark we spend a lot of time on our webpage constantly updating our site to make it more relevant and useful for our customers. Whatever your business is the way you present yourself is important.
3 – Understand your competition and differentiators – I was surprised to learn that drugstores and fast food are competitors of c-stores, but it makes complete sense. Those in the c-store space know that is who they are up against as well as other c-stores in their area. Having something that sets them apart, like a specific food product or a loyalty program, is a key to success. Understanding competition and what makes you different is essential in any industry.
4 – Evaluate, taste & test and gather customer feedback – There is nothing that helps your learn more about your business than talking to your customers. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses gives you the opportunity to evolve and grow.
Even though the M-PACT show and Michael’s presentation are geared for the c-store industry I always appreciate getting out of the office and traveling to a tradeshow. Regardless of what industry the tradeshow is geared towards, I always come back full of ideas from networking conversations and presentations.