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Why Your Customers' Income Level Is so Important

You may have heard people say that you need to understand your customer 'demographics'.  Demographics are facts or characteristics that can be counted or measured about a certain population or group of people.  These numbers can help people like business owners and government officials make decisions about certain areas.

One of the key demographics that's important for business owners to know about the people who come to their business often and/or live nearby is their income level, or how much money they have.  For the c-store industry, the average customer income level is low income, or people who bring in $35,000 or less per year.  This number is very important for you to know.  Why?  Read on for our list of great reasons.

Product Needs:

One reason why it is important to know your customer’s income level is so you know what products you should carry your store.  For a customer base that is mostly low-income, you should think about what items they will need most often.  Keeping a good selection of grocery products for customers who may not can't easily reach a large grocery store is a great way to keep foot traffic and profits steady.  Carrying fresh fruits and veggies, as well as other staple foods will not only please customers of all income levels, but allow you to continue accepting SNAP benefits from customers than have them.

Service Needs:

Another great way to use customer income level information is to decide what, if any, additional services and solutions you can offer in your store.  If you have a lot of low income customers, you have a chance to turn your c-store or small grocery store into a one-stop shop for customers.  

Customers who rely on cash to pay their bills are usually looking for the closest place to do this.  When you add a bill pay solution to your store, you can allow customers to pay all their bills in cash in one place.  This is is a great way to increase foot traffic and sales.  When customers come to pay their bills throughout every month, they will usually spend even more money on food items or gas as well.  Plus, every time a customer pays a bill at your store, you also benefit from the convenience fees.

Other great solutions for c-stores in areas with a lot of low income customers are:

 

Pricing:

How much are your customers willing to spend? Depending on the income level, pricing will differ. You can not have the mentality of “that’s just how we do it”, it is not beneficial for your customers or for your business. Higher income areas will be willing to pay more, but they demand higher quality products. Lower income areas are looking for sales. If you are in a lower income area, you should consider offering deals, especially on popular items. Don’t just take our word for it, many c-store owners, like goEBT's own Sushil Lamsal have seen great success by paying close attention to the price point that keeps customers coming back to his store. Having reasonable pricing is also a great way to compete with the large chains, because they often charge more for the products your customers want and need.

Once you know how much money your customers have to spend and what they're willing to spend it on, you can make the best decisions for running your c-store.  Finding out more about the income level of people in your area is as simple as a Google search.  You can even type your zip code in at https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/ for a quick up-to-date snapshot.

 

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in Building Your Business, goEBT News, SNAP Tips