Most c-store owners understand that advancements in payment technology are causing fuel consumers to come into the c-store from the pump less and less. Because gas margins are so thin compared to those on items sold inside the c-store, this is a troubling trend for store owners. C-store owners can no longer simply rely on great fuel prices to drive their store’s customer traffic and loyalty. Now, retailers are under pressure to innovate and keep their consumers coming inside their stores. While signage at the gas pump and other places in the forecourt used to be an afterthought, fuel retail experts are warning that ignoring these opportunities to advertise could be very detrimental to a store’s success.
Plenty of Opportunity
Most consumers choose gas stations based on location. This means the majority of fuel consumers are visiting a station that is near their home, job, school, or other destination. Typically consumers will frequent the same gas stations on a regular basis. Once a consumer has pulled in to pump their gas, c-store owners have to take advantage of what is considered a “captive audience”.
There are a number of signage locations that are available to use for catching a consumers eye and when used properly, could make all the difference in boosting a gas station’s c-store profits:
Above the pump
On the pump
On the ground out of driving/parking area
On store windows/outside walls
Finding a Balance
While there are so many opportunities for signage that could attract the fuel consumer to the c-store, store owners must be wise in their utilization. Too many visual cues or unattractive advertising will only overwhelm consumers and keep them from coming in to make more purchases. The key to ideal gas pump signage is to only promote one or a very select few items at a time while making sure that messaging is strong and consistent. Promoting a few items at a time is fine, as long as the items you think will sell the best are in the most noticeable advertising spaces. Make sure that signage isn’t clashing and remains easily visible.
Keeping it Fresh
Again, pump advertising that is outdated or simply looks ratty is much less likely to grab a fuel consumer’s attention. Also, repeat customers will start to ignore advertising that is the same for too long. Whether you’re using yard signs or pump toppers, make sure you regularly refresh your signage and keep your forecourt looking bright and clean.
Keeping it Bright
If you’re going to invest your time and money in gas pump and forecourt signage, you want to ensure that it can be seen at all times of the day and night. Keep your forecourt well lit, paying special attention to the areas where signage is placed to draw in consumers.
Knowing Your Consumers
As with any signage or store decision, store owners should make sure that their gas pump signage makes sense for their specific customers. For example, if you know that consumers in your area love a specific kind of snack, you will likely want to promote that snack at the pump frequently to remind them that your c-store has it. Also, as you are refreshing your pump signage over time, keep in mind what signage has helped or failed in the past so that you are not wasting time, effort, or most importantly signage space.
Today, gas retailers like BP are accepting the results of “pay-at-the-pump” technology and engaging fuel consumers at the pump even more. Innovations like digital signage that allow commercials, news, weather, music videos and more are giving consumers more reasons to enjoy their trip to the gas station. While these new pump additions can be pricey, they can also offer opportunities that traditional signage simply can’t:
Gathering loyalty information at the pump
Product advertisements that have a better chance at gaining consumer attention
An attractive advertising opportunity for local businesses/organizations, which could mean revenue for store owners
While this new digital pump signage is still new, it is certainly the way of the future and sure to continue becoming the norm.
The more consumers turn toward delivery and ecommerce, the less they will want to buy items inside brick-and-mortar stores. By creating a gas pump and forecourt experience that keeps consumers engaged and happy, you can keep the coming into your store for food and beverages they might not have originally stopped for. Once you’ve found the gas pump signage strategy that keeps in-store foot traffic steady, keep optimizing it over time to boost your sales.