Gas Station Management Best Practices
The retail sphere is fiercely competitive. From big-box retailers to corner store convenience stores, customers have a wide range of options to fulfill their shopping needs. In the convenience store segment, this is especially true, with many independent franchisees looking to set their own operation apart from operators across the street and down the road. While operators might not be able to offer discernibly different products on the shelf, they can set their brand apart by focusing on customer experience and expanded services. Consider these gas station management best-practices to improve your customer retention.
Give Customers the “Convenience” They Need
Any given day, convenience stores are servicing an average of 1,100 customers, 800 of those inside the store looking for any mix of services or products. There are four primary spheres that a convenience store can focus on in order to set themselves apart from the pack: effective inventory management built to support competitive pricing, meaningfully expanding services, creating a world-class service experience, and finally creating a well maintained and welcoming environment that reinforces the trust customers have in your ability to provide a great experience. You can experiences growth in your c-store by implementing simple gas station management solutions.
Effective Inventory Management and Pricing Model
Convenience stores offer the complex product mix of a big box retailer without the space to spread that product out, so shelf space is always at a premium. Utilization of an inventory management software solution integrated across the operation allows a convenience store retailer to keep up with industry- and store-level trends to offer customers the products they need at prices they are willing to pay.
Expand Service Offerings to Fill Gaps in Local Market
Some convenience stores are located in suburban markets surrounded by other similar operations, while other stores might be the veritable oasis, with nothing else for miles around. Depending on a store’s location, it might be strategically advantageous to add services to secure an increased share of the local market. This might mean adding a car wash on the property if the local market has a need for such services. No coffee shops nearby? Add a coffee island. Are you in a market that allows liquor sales to take place outside of dedicated retail spaces? Add beer, wine, and limited liquor offerings to your shelves. Whatever niche you feel is lacking in the market is an opportunity to expand your service offerings and build repeat business. Computer-aided ordering can improve your inventory control whole reducing bookkeeping errors.
World Class Customer Service, Because They Could Go Anywhere Else
It’s a saying popular in a number of service-related industries, and can especially be true in the convenience store market segment – your customers can find your services nearly anywhere else. The hidden benefit to investing in operations management software solutions across the board in order to increase efficiencies and maximize operations is that your people will have more time to dedicate to the service experience for customers. The ability to focus on customer needs without getting bogged down with inventories, orders, and product management means that you can give customers the extra attention they might need. And in an industry where positive word of mouth can be the difference between success and lost sales, treating people right is the only path to success.
The Customer Service Experience Starts with First Impressions
You could have the friendliest employees and the best inventory management system making sure your shelves are stocked with exactly everything the local market craves. But if the lights on your main sign are burned out, your trashes overflowing, and you have empty dispensers and dirty toilets in the restrooms, with trash all over the floors and greasy streaks covering your glass doors, do you really expect customers to do more than stop and grab gas and maybe use your restrooms? Clean and well-maintained space instills trust in your brand and encourages customers to engage with your brand beyond the basics and will bring them back time and again.
Be More Than A Gas Station
Ultimately, there’s a shortcut to making sure you have the time and money to invest in making your convenience store stand out in a highly competitive market segment – software automation. Success Systems is a software service provider that specializes in convenience store systems automation to handle inventory management, ordering, labor management, fuel service management, lottery management, and other systems, all so you can dedicate your best efforts at creating the services and experiences necessary to keep them coming back. Contact us today to request a demo for your c-store and improve your gas station management immediately.