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    The Top 7 Reasons Consumers Choose Another Store

    There are over 155,000 c-stores in the Unites States alone. Competition is on every owner’s mind. Whether it is a new business opening down the street or a rival store that you’ve been competing with for years, understanding how customers think and why they might choose another store over you is the first step improving your c-store.

    1. Price – “a change of a few cents can profoundly impact both sales and profit.”

    Customers are looking for competitive and reasonable prices when deciding which c-store to choose. Motorists driving by are first looking for low gas prices than for posted sales or promotions. The promise of savings will draw customers in, and loyalty programs, coupons, and other advertisements will keep them returning.

    2. Image – Most c-stores gets 300 visitors to its fuel pumps per day and only 35% of those customers go inside the store.

    There are a few ways you can get customers into your c-store and out of the competitions. One of the best ways is by managing your store's outside and inside image. The outside of the store is the first things that shoppers see, so making sure the outside of your store reflects the cleanliness and innovation of the inside is a great way to draw in new customers. Keeping your parking lot clean, the pumps updated, and having plenty of available parking will bring customers in. Once they are inside you will want to have neatly stocked shelves and clean bathrooms. These are just a few ways to keep your c-stores image looking good.

    3. Item Quality and Availability – 51% of shoppers who didn’t find what they were looking for went to another store.

    When a customer’s favorite items are out-of-stock then your sales could be in trouble. If a c-store gets the reputation of constantly out-of-stock, expired, or damaged products then customers will begin to think about choosing other stores who do have the items they want.

    If you are on top of ordering and re-stocking and your sales are not where you want them to be, then consider carrying new or holiday-themed items. Even items that are season specific can make all the difference to the customers. Do not overwhelm them with too many options, but think carefully about what is selling and what customers want and try to make the appropriate adjustments.

    4. Convenience – The key to increasing frequency is delivering quality, convenience, and reliability that will get customers wanting to come back again and again in between fill-ups.”

    Convenience is often related to where your c-store is located, the times you are open, and the ability for customers to easily get into your store. Limited parking, long lines, slow checkouts, or too much parking lot traffic are all factors when motorists are determining whether your store is a convenient option for them to choose.

    5. Customer Service 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.

    To have the best customer service possible, make sure you are training your employees on how to be approachable and friendly. Employees should smile and have a good attitude that communicates to customers that they are willing to help. Even if your employees are good with customers if they have a weak work ethic customers will notice and your c-store will physically show it. Make sure you have enough employees on the floor that are knowledgeable. All of this can affect whether a customer makes a purchase in your c-store.

    6. Payment Options – 50% of customers states that the most critical factor when deciding where to fuel was payment options such as cash, credit, mobile, EMV, EBT capable, etc.

    Customers are drawn to new and innovative ways to pay for their items. Enhancing their options can increase your profits and encourage customers to fuel or pick up their items at your c-store. Giving your customers variety in payments such as Apple Pay or EMV chip readers will ensure that you always make the sale pushing you ahead of your competition.

    7. Available Services – Anything extra you can offer a customer gives you a greater chance of making a sale.

    If your c-store lacks popular services then you are missing out on extra profits. Shoppers will be inclined to purchase additional items from basic services like a coffee bar, prepaid cards, or lottery tickets. You could even gain customers from your competition if you consider offering new services such as a car wash, BillPay, EMV capable ATMs, delivery or pickup, online ordering, or even a mobile app with rewards.

    Overall, you want to make sure that your c-store is appealing to customers in every way so you can make the most profits. Make changes if necessary so that your c-store will draw in and impress customers, keeping them happy and more likely to become a repeat customer.