5 Ways to Increase C-Store Sales and Outperform Your Competitors

Every operator wants to increase the number of customers and grow sales in their stores. But do you know the best way to accomplish this? No matter where your c-store is located, there are many ways to attract more customers and entice them to increase their spend both at the pump and in your store.

Here are five ways to boost customer traffic, increase sales, and outperform your competition.

1. Research your closest competitors

Your site likely competes with several local c-stores. Researching your rivals is important for increasing your sales and gaining a competitive edge. Use these questions and actions to help identify areas of improvement:

  • Based on location, what demographic of customer does the competitor serve?
  • What offers are they promoting with banners and signage?
  • What items appear to be best sellers?
  • Do they have any promotional signage visible at pumps or from the road?
  • How do your fuel prices compare to theirs?
  • What extras do they offer (such as a car wash, air/water, vacuum, etc.)?

Using the profile you’ve created based off the questions above, develop your own strategy to compete for specific customer demographics at your store. To refine your strategy, use the following questions to help you outperform your top competitors.

  • What offers can you advertise outside your store to attract specific demographics?
  • Do you directly compete on top-selling items?
  • Do you have an advantage for addressing an underserved demographic?
  • What can your store offer customers that your competitors cannot?
  • Can you offer deals on staple items that aren’t offered by your competitors?
  • Can you offer higher-quality specialty items or specialty items at a lower cost?

2. Get to know your customers and what they want

Some items like USB chargers and hot coffee will be best sellers no matter where you’re located, but devoting more shelf and countertop space to items your customers want is a great way to increase sales.

However, it’s reasonable to expect a c-store along an interstate highway to have different customers than a c-store in an urban area. For example, a c-store with long-distance truckers as customers may offer personal grooming items that help increase sales. Or, if your c-store is located near a school, devoting shelf space to high-margin toys can drive more sales.

3. Deliver a more engaging customer experience

Providing a better experience at your convenience store (and in the digital realm) can quickly increase customer spend and loyalty. You can make simple changes to your site to create a better customer experience, such as hiring friendly attendants, maintaining clean restrooms, ensuring your forecourt is well-lit, and providing free air and water to help earn repeat business. All of these items lead to a better customer experience and a better impression of your store.

4. Provide discounts, offers, and specials

Offering unique discounts and specials can drive your customers toward making larger purchases on a more frequent basis. Discounts and specials are also some of the most effective tools to entice customers away from your competitors. You can provide discounts on seasonal items, your competitor’s best sellers, high-margin items, and closely related items.

5. Use eye-catching signage

Other than seeing the gas prices you advertise, customers are comparing your station to others based on your c-store signage. To catch the eyes of customers and drive more traffic to your c-store, be sure to leverage the exterior of your station. Your signage could promote a freebie with a fill-up, a promotional bundle, or specialty/seasonal items inside your store.

All of these strategies are great for helping to increase your c-store sales. Experiment with the options that work best for your store, then watch the results. To ensure that you’re prioritizing items your customers will actually buy, always consult your back-office software’s inventory management report to determine the best sellers. You can also use the sales volume information to track the effectiveness of any changes you make to your store. Happy selling!

You can thrive in today’s digital economy. Contact us today to learn how we can help you transform your business.