Daypart Sales and Your Convenience Store

One key factor in maximizing your sales is paying close attention to the trends in your sales as the day goes on.  In the c-store industry, the different times of the day have long been referred to as “dayparts” and they have been the cornerstone upon which many stores have built their sales and marketing strategies.  If you aren’t sure what dayparts are or why they matter to your business, this NACS presentation can help.  Today, there a quite a few details to keep in mind when deciding how you can take advantage of select times of days.  While broad industry trends generally hold true, convenience and small grocery stores are all unique and needs will vary.

Consider “Grazing”

Today’s c-store shoppers are accustomed to grazing, or eating several small meals per day, rather than sitting down for three large meals per day.  This new style of eating makes convenience and small grocery stores ideal for the snacks that consumers are seeking.  Convenience stores offer quick service, plenty of variety, and usually extended hours of operation.  Store owners should definitely look forward to the “convenience” of their stores at all times of day for this reason.

Pay Attention to Current Habits

Have you noticed that your line stays longer in the morning just before 8:30 or 9 am?  Do you tend to have little to no business as the sun goes down?  These are the kinds of sales trends you want to take note of and use to your advantage.  Your business’ unique set of customers will naturally show certain tendencies that can benefit you in making important strategic decisions.  Once you understand what your customers are currently doing, you want to decide what you may be able to leverage to boost these sales that you’re already getting.

Take Notice of Product Trends

An important part of optimizing your stores’ daypart strategy is understanding the products your customers are most likely to buy at specific times of day.  If customers during your morning rush are buying a lot of dairy products, you may consider offering a cross-sell promotion for a breakfast pastry.  Maybe you’re not selling a lot of snacks during the early afternoon.  You could consider starting a discount promotion on chips or candy for a select period of time each day.  Using daypart trends like these to develop ideas for building basket size and moving more products should be a key effort for convenience stores and small grocery stores.  For some general information about daypart product trends and opportunities, check out this article from NPD.

Healthy Options Matter All Day

As many studies have shown, today’s consumers are opting for healthier food and beverages in their regular trips to the store.  The industry’s move toward providing healthy ingredient snacking includes all dayparts and should definitely not be ignored.  Having these options available at all times of day will help you maximize your income at every opportunity.

Signage Matters

Although it may seem like an afterthought, signage can make a huge difference in your ability to capitalize in all your dayparts.  Not only do you need properly lit signage during night or early morning hours, you should also ensure that any daypart specials are being properly advertised to bring in customers.  If you’re not using signage to your advantage, you could be missing out on the opportunity to bring in customers who are looking for a store or may not have otherwise had a reason to stop in.

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut

Your daypart traffic and trends will continue to change and evolve through the months, seasons, and even years.  Of course the broad industry trends will continue to influence your business, but environmental factors will always make a difference as well.  Your daypart traffic will likely change as schools are in and out of session, new businesses enter the area, weather changes, and so on.  Make sure you are stocking your store and adjusting your promotional activities as necessary to ensure your business’ success.

in Building Your Business