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Convenience store retailers actively seek out ways to drive consumers from the gas pump to inside the store on a more regular basis. Increasing convenience store frequency comes down to understanding the needs and wants of consumers and then catering to those needs.
Whether consumers stop at a convenience store to fuel their vehicle, grab a prepared food item or serve other errands, retailers can increase frequency of visits and boost repeat purchases by enhancing and maintaining the consumer experience.
Here are three tips c-store retailers can adopt to help increase repeat purchases:
1. Create the Expectation Your Convenience Store Is Dependable
Consumers typically stop at a convenience store because it is on their route. However, the factors they deem most important are speed of service, ease of parking, cleanliness of the store, and the selection of portable, affordable, fresh and quality prepared foods — all of which dictate the overall experience.
When a convenience store consistently delivers on the above experience factors, it creates a reputable track record of being dependable, which in turn, attracts return consumers and increases purchases. Retailers have the chance to create reasons for consumers to return, and this momentum can help increase frequency of visits to convenience stores.
2. Offer Deals Enticing Consumers to Try Additional Products
Getting consumers from the gas pump to inside the store is half the battle. The true victory is when consumers become familiar with the offerings and continuously purchase in-store products, like prepared food items.
Because prepared food purchases can be split-second decisions, don’t make deals too complicated. For example, a “buy two, get one free” promotion will get customers to buy in multiples. These types of traditional promotions are typically the easiest to understand and help drive the volume of the purchase by offering a discounted price.
While “buy one, get one” promotions tend to be the easiest to understand for the consumer, occasion-based promotions, which are connected to local or timely occasions, present a fun and unique way to promote prepared food purchases. Offering a promotion for $1 hot dogs every time a local baseball team hits six home runs in a game shows ties to community and celebration.
Retailers offering promotions to try new and familiar items will enhance the overall experience and create excitement for the consumer. This helps maintain current consumer purchases and attracts new consumer purchases.
3. Keep Offerings Fresh & Exciting by Providing Variety
Since consumers like being offered a variety of choices, retailers should present an assortment of prepared food items to entice purchases. By having a limited-time-only flavor of a particular item, retailers give their customers a fresh look at their choices. Regularly rotating flavors on the roller grill, like Spicy Italian, Black Pepper, Jalapeño or CheddarWurst smoked sausages, can cause a consumer to stop in for their favorite flavor of sausage when it returns to rotation.
Retailers can also create a unique spin on a prepared food item. For example, add unique, customized toppings such as various barbecue sauces from honey mustard to sweet vinegar, which are perfect to customize boneless wings. This method has the potential to cause consumers to crave that special item and take the steps from the pump into store.
Another simple way to provide extra product variety to consumers is by offering something new during various dayparts to reach a different set of consumers. Display pie slices with a fresh pot of coffee in the afternoon, or add breakfast sausages to the roller grill in the evening for a late-night breakfast on the go.
By providing additional items during various dayparts or adding special-edition flavors to key product categories, c-store retailers enhance consumer experience, which drives repeat purchases.
Overall, to increase convenience store frequency, retailers need to provide consumers with a memorable experience that continues to delight and build a relationship well beyond the transaction. In order for consumers to enjoy the experience, convenience stores need to create a sense of dependability with their consumers by having consistent, quality products; engaging deals or promotions; and a variety of products at different dayparts for purchase.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.