The c-store retail environment has been seemingly ever-changing over the past few years. A big question many convenience store owners may have is, what does the future of c-store retail really look like?
How to Cater to International C-Store Customers
One of the best parts about operating a c-store is that they are universally recognized across the world as a place to pick up quick essentials. Chances are international customers shop at your convenience store or small grocery store every day. You might wonder how you can best serve them, and we’re here to help.
Let’s talk about the items you should stock up on, the services you should offer, and potential challenges to overcome so you can better serve your international customers.
Stock Up on Necessities
Whenever someone travels to a foreign country, more times than not they need the basic necessities of everyday life. Along with food and drinks, they’ll need toothbrushes, soap, toiletries, medicine, etc. Think of whatever you might need while traveling and stock up on at least the bare essentials for your international customers. In addition, you should consider offering international phone call cards. Although these call cards might seem like a thing of the past, they are still highly useful for people traveling abroad. Help them stay in touch with their friends and family with these simple items.
By offering these products, you’ll save them the trouble of going to a traditional retail store or pharmacy, and you can enjoy increased revenue opportunities. Especially if your c-store is near an international airport or large city, you’ll want to accommodate the influx of travelers.
Help Them Stay Connected
When people travel, they want to stay connected. Whether they’re in the area for business or personal time, they’ll want access to WiFi at some point. Not all hotels offer this service surprisingly, and especially in more rural areas, finding a hotspot can be a challenge. What better way to help them stay connected than by offering free WiFi services for your customers?
This works best if your c-store has a place for customers to sit. For instance, if there is a coffee bar or restaurant located inside. You might feel hesitant to have people sit in your c-store for extended periods of time using your WiFi connection, but think of it this way: the longer they sit, the more they can purchase from you.
Offering prepaid cell phones and service can be another great way to help these customers keep in touch with family and friends. Try to find a solution that would allow the customers to make international AND local calls, as well as browse the web for a good price without locking them into any contract.
One of the most significant challenges you will run into with international c-store customers is the potential language barrier. To overcome this challenge, you should consider the following:
- Include pictures on your exterior and interior signs of the products advertised. If you were to simply use text, your potential customers might not know that you offer necessities, phone cards, etc.
- Because many of your international customers will have foreign credit cards, you should use an advanced payment processing system. Accepting foreign cards is relatively simple, and by offering the option, you can cater to more customers.
- These customers often deal in cash to avoid the trouble of international currencies and credit cards. Make sure you offer ways for them to send and receive cash, as well as pay for things in cash.
With these tips in mind, your c-store should become the number one destination for international customers. Provide them with the necessities the need, help them stay connected, and make it easy for them to purchase their items. With this service, you’ll differentiate yourself from competitors and enjoy more business!