Fuel gallons are flat if not down. How can I do a better job attracting customer from the pump into the store?
With the advent of ride-sharing, hybrid fueled vehicles and millennials who just don’t aspire to drive cars, improving retail conversion from the pump is critical for success. While there is no single “smoking gun” answer, there are a number of things you can do to get folks from the forecourt into the store.
It always starts with the Swedeism of ‘easability.’ If you make it difficult on the customer to shop the store, chances are, they are going to get back in their vehicle and move on without giving you the opportunity for a purchase. This means, to the degree you can control, maintain an appropriate distance from the fueling positions to the entrance of the store. Don’t’ distract them with unmaintained forecourt amenities nor unsightly retail ‘theatre’ in the name of haphazard palette drops of items that rarely move in front of the store. If you have the foresight to have multiple entrances, all the better, as you are giving the consumer choices.
Secondly, you must portray a safe and inviting atmosphere with a compelling offering to move those who would otherwise move on. This includes lighting, both forecourt and store, to ensure safety and clean sight lines so the customer can clearly survey the retail offering from the forecourt prior to going inside. Product offerings are the closer here. Do you have anything that is signature or that you are known for that will be a unique draw? Basket size grows once they are in the store assuming you are well merchandised with an appropriate store flow.
Finally, look at your forecourt marketing as it relates to your retail offering. Are you marketing to your customer or are you letting your fuel brand do the work for you? Authenticity is real folks; people know when something is genuine and real as opposed to being spreadsheeted upon them. Look at your loyalty/marketing program and how you, and you alone, can reach those customers. As I have long said, customers are highly coveted and hard to get. Once you have them, you must do everything in your power to keep them with high-quality service, fair pricing and a compelling product offering.
There is always more you can do but the tenets remain the same for successful convenience retailing; Convenient, Frictionless and Fresh assuming Clean, Well-Lit and Safe.
In you corner,
Andrew Swedenborg is retail expert with more than 20 years of experience within the convenience and grocery industries. He has worked with numerous retailers in the branding, design and deployment of retail concepts nationally. If you have a question for Swede, you can email him at: [email protected]