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Capitalizing on the Strengths of Convenience

Posted Jan 10th, 2019 in Industry news

Capitalizing on the Strengths of Convenience

A recent article in Convenience Store News examines the strengths and weaknesses of the c-store from that most important perspective: the customer. At first glance, the information is not encouraging. In terms of price, product selection, and employee helpfulness, the convenience store lags behind competitors like drug stores, supermarkets, and dollar stores. The c-store is rated lower on cleanliness than drug stores, and lower in product quality than the supermarket.

However, there is one area in which the convenience store strongly out-performs her competitors: overall convenience.

This gives c-store owners two questions to consider: how can we strengthen what is strong? How can we make up for what is weak?

Weaknesses to overcome:

  • Product selection is a difficult hurdle for many c-stores. With limited shelf space compared to supermarkets and dollar stores, it is difficult to stock everything a convenience-seeking customer might need. In many cases, it is hard to know what a customer needs. One solution to this is precise analytics and inventory control. With a power back office software, retailers can determine which products are in high demand, and which tend to sit on the shelf to collect dust. XSite Price Book is a good fit here. The price book can generate flexible sales and margin reports that let owners know which products can be discontinued to make room for the things that customers really want.
  • Price is one of the biggest drawbacks in most customer's minds. For many reasons, items at c-stores tend to be more expensive than the same items at the supermarket. Higher prices may be the cost of convenience, but there are strategies c-store owners can take to help mitigate this. XSite Price Book allows you to easily implement discounts and specials on whole departments, subdepartments, and individual items. Couple frequent sales with flexible advertising like digital signage, and your customers won't be thinking about how much more they are paying, but about picking up your sale items.

But despite these perceived drawbacks, c-store still dominate the market in terms of convenience. There are many ways owners can capitalize on this strength:

  • Frictionless checkouts. Convenience store giant, 7-Eleven, is testing out a new mobile payment app, Scan & Pay. This technology allows customers to completely bypass checkout lines. This tech is still new, but forward-thinking owners will be wise to look into ways to make it easier for customers to purchase and go their way.
  • Store layout. Pay attention to how your products and shelves are placed. Your store is an environment, and you want it to be as pleasant and accessible as possible. Good resources for site layout ideas can be found all over the Internet. The news website, Chron, lists great tips for making your layout more effective. 
  • Stocking convenient items. While the c-store will never be able to stock as many items as a supermarket, owners can experiment with items that meet their customer's needs. Product sales can be tracked and owners can gain great insight regarding what sells and what doesn't with XSite Price Book Manager. Contact us today to book a free demo!