Your number one goal as a convenience store should be to bring customers inside your store. The margins just aren't big enough at the pump; the inside is where your real opportunity lies for profit. So what should you focus on in your marketing strategies in order to effectively bring consumers into your store on a regular basis? Here are 8 things we've picked for you to consider in your 2016 marketing strategy.
1. Social Media
If you're not already active on social media, it's time. As a business that caters to consumers, it is essential to be active on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You can use these platforms to promote products and discounts, keep customers informed on relevant news about your store, and, most importantly, have conversations with your customers outside of your store. You can respond to positive and negative reviews and get feedback from customers on how to make your business more successful. Posting on social media keeps your store top-of-mind to consumers that follow you there.
2. Email Marketing
As previously stated, the number one goal of your marketing strategy should be to bring consumers into your store. Email is an effective way to do that. You can share your promotions and featured items in a weekly or monthly email communication. If that sounds like too much work, you can just email them any time you have a big promotion coming up.
3. Text Messaging
Another way to bring customers into your store is through text messaging. This is probably one of the most effective ways to communicate with customers when they aren't in your store. Text is much quicker and more effective than email communication. It is also more successful than mobile apps when it comes to opt-in rates vs. download rates.
4. Pump Signage
Most convenience stores already have pump signage - but is it focusing on the right messaging? Your signage at the pump should encourage gas buyers to want to come into the store. Maybe it's a great deal for anyone showing their gas receipt that day. Or maybe it is advertising joining your loyalty program. The offer needs to be enticing enough to get that person into the store.
5. Invest in A Website
It's surprising how many convenience stores still lack a website. It can be easy and cheap to create a mobile-friendly site in order to be able to display promotions, give some insight into your company's culture, and show why you are different from your competition.
6. Differentiate from the Competition
Speaking of differentiating from your competition..... One way to do this is to focus on a a product or specialty that you can be known for. Maybe you're already known for something that can differentiate you. Do you have the best handmade pizza in town? Are you the only place that has homemade pistachio muffins? What do you want to be known for?
7. Consider Millennials
Convenience stores accounted for 11% of Millennial food and beverage stops in 2014 - with this number continuing to grow. (USA Today).
Here's what we know about the generation: they love texting, hate talking on the phone, and they don't drive as much as older demographics do. The most important thing we know about Millennials is that they look at convenience stores as a destination for quality food at a low price. Millennials are more likely to stop and buy items at convenience stores than any other age group, aiming that the future of convenience stores is food - not fuel. So, although Millennials drive less than other generation and c-stores won't gain much from fuel sales to them, they can gain profit from foodservice and beverage sales.
8. Rewards Program
Want to throw most of these tactics into one big goal for 2016? Invest in a rewards program. It can be just the right thing to attract Millennials and differentiate you from your competition. By using email and text to communicate with consumers, you have the opportunity to keep your store top-of-mind and keep customers coming back in-store. You don't have to give hefty discounts to run a rewards program. Learn more about what kind of programs you can run and how cost-effective a program can really be by contacting us or downloading our whitepaper below.