The old saying goes, "If something isn't broken then don't fix it". For some of these big C-store chains, it would seem that they figured out the proper way to grow a business and haven't looked back. So, what should you do as a start-up or a relatively new C-store? Well, copy it. These businesses are proven and have the recipe for success which is why they continue to have great growth so learn from it. With that being said, here are the top C-store chains and a little bit about what has put them on top.
7-Eleven: This c-store and gas station has been number one on the list of top growing chains for many years. It's dynamic in its business approach and is constantly changing its structure to support its customers. Over the years, 7-Elevens has made advancements in their technology to promote customer loyalty with things like their 7Rewards loyalty app. The app prompts customers to buy items at their stores in order to earn prizes such as gift cards or merchandise. They have also started offering bill pay in their stores and third-party delivery. 7-Eleven also has great brand recognition with its iconic Big Gulp that helped put its name on the map.
Circle K: This company's rise to success has a lot to do with re-branding its image. Circle K was a nearly 8,400 c-stores without something linking them. The company made a point to bring all c-stores under "one umbrella". The decision to re-brand was an excellent one, as the companies recognition has grown and it is now one of the leading globally recognized c-stores. It goes to show, with the right image and likeness your company can really take-off.
Speedway: Back in October 2018, Marathon purchased the rights to Speedway and all of its c-stores thus making its outreach span across the U.S. from coast to coast. Now Speedway has one of the largest quantities of c-stores in the country with the likeness of both brands, Speedway and Marathon. Like 7-Eleven, Speedway has an easy to use customer loyalty program that features rewards for shopping and spending money as well as monthly giveaways to keep people coming through their doors.
Casey's General Store: Unlike the other businesses on the list, Casey's operates as a pizza delivery service along with their c-stores. Casey's has built its business on, "small towns are a good place to be". Casey's strategically becomes the hub of any small town and acts as a restaurant, c-store, and community hot-spot. It sells anything from prepared food to traditional snacks like any other c-store. The combination of geographically locating itself in a town and having something like pizza delivery to give itself brand recognition is exactly why it has done so well as a company.
Murph USA: Like Casey's, Murph USA leans heavily on location for profits. While it may not aim for the center of town, Murph USA piggy-backs on Walmarts and sets up show wherever they are located. Walmart is one of the biggest retail chains in the U.S. it is smart of Murph executives to complement the store and its customers by giving them a gas station. Once again, Murph USA puts a heavy focus on the needs of consumers and only has its c-stores in stand-alone locations without a Walmart. If it is coupled by the retail supergiant then it only offers a small kiosk for cigarettes and drinks at a low cost.
It is important to be aware of what makes a company succeed and what does not. These are just a few examples of how businesses have managed to take advantage of a situation or capitalize on a growing trend like loyalty programs. There are no rules deciding who can and cannot use these strategies so, make the best of it. If it works for them it can most definitely work for you. Along with great techniques, these businesses focus on being a trustworthy company and taking care of its customers so you should do the same. Here are a few other articles to help you do just that: