In 2021, there are nearly 121,538 gas stations with convenience stores in the United States. To compete and thrive, store owners need to get intentional about operating a successful business. Expectations are changing, which provides gas station owners with an opportunity to better serve their needs, attract new business and develop customer loyalty.
Hire reliable, trustworthy and friendly employees.
Employees can make or break your business. A successful gas station requires reliable, honest and courteous employees.
As gas station owners, you sell a commodity, so small things can add up to better customer value. When your employees handle the customer touch points with grace, you create more value for the customer in a way they can appreciate.
Customers like to be greeted when they enter the store, and appreciate a smile and friendly transaction they can look forward to when they return. Customers also like employees that are well dressed and groomed. When you make the customer feel valued, you set yourself apart from the competition.
On the other hand, if employees are distant, unengaged, or simply rude, it makes it too easy for the customer to frequent another store. And if they tell their friends of a bad experience, you can lose more than one customer.
Reliability is also important because you need confidence that your locations are running smoothly so you can focus on your job.
Have a competitive pricing strategy to beat the competition.
Pricing strategy can set your gas station apart from competitors. Keeping an eye on market trends will help you find opportunities to attract more customers and sell higher profit items. The balancing act is to protect profits while providing enough value to customers to keep them coming back.
In general, keep your gas prices comparable or lower than your neighbors. Getting someone to the pump is the first step to getting them inside the store. Lower gas prices maintain loyalty and attract new customers.
Sell more than just gas.
According to this year’s NACS State of the Industry Report, foodservice made up 22.6% of in-store sales. It’s not really a secret that quick service food is an opportunity area for gas stations that want to improve profit margins, and if your locations haven’t explored the possibility of adding a menu for customers now is the time to get into the made-to-order food business.
It may seem daunting to add another layer of services to your business but with today’s technology like self-order kiosks and mobile ordering apps makes it much easier for gas station owners to take the leap into foodservice than ever before.
Use a modern back office software system.
Technology is another secret to attaining the competitive advantage. Integrated, cloud-based back office management systems tie all store operations together and provide storeowners with new tools to improve profitability for a more successful gas station.
Look for a system that makes managing your gas station easier, not harder, with features like speedy data entry and good reporting capabilities. A cloud-based system allows easy access from an Internet device, so you can manage your store on the go. And, a modern back office system supports services that customers expect, including managing and running loyalty programs.
Modern back office systems help store owners rein in costs while giving store owners more tools to build and retain customer loyalty. Customers have a lot of choices when it comes to gas stations and c-stores. Modern technology can help make your store their most attractive option.