Written by Sumit Kar & Eric Warner
There are a multitude of factors that go into operating a successful convenience store. However, one key aspect is often overlooked, even though it’s perhaps the most visible of them all – curb appeal.
Customer perception and overall visual appearance are tremendous drivers of convenience store sales and overall success. Fortunately, strategies exist to help facilities managers elevate the customer experience and take advantage of these benefits.
Bringing Customers Inside Your Convenience Store
Convenience stores handle the vast majority of fuel sales in the United States, but optimizing the layout of the site to move customers from the pump into the store has always been an uphill battle for both facility planning and ongoing operations. When up to 75% of convenience store gross profit come from in-store sales vs. fuel sales, every customer who fills up and drives away without setting foot inside the store is a significant missed opportunity.
However, site enhancements like commercial signs, commercial lighting, promotions and other facility planning decisions have been proven to boost conversion rates.
In fact, a GasBuddy report found that “store design and upkeep” influence 82.54% of respondents’ decisions about whether or not to head inside a convenience store. Clean restrooms, rewards programs, mobile and pump-based ads, well-lit storefronts and other visible indicators of a safe and viable environment can encourage customers to spend more time – and money – inside.
Vixxo’s Sumit Kar and Eric Warner offered the following tips for elevating curb appeal and getting customers to stick around:
- Leverage well-lit LED signage and graphics
- Care for landscaping – keep it manicured and clean
- Advertise products or promotions, such as “beer caves” or special offers
- Leverage floor-to-ceiling windows for enticement, and keep them clean
Don’t Forget to Encourage Fuel Sales
Given that customers who purchase gas are more likely to head inside to make a purchase (to the tune of 60% of fuel customers doing so), it’s critical to make sure people are stopping to fuel up. Promotions like comprehensive rewards and loyalty programs that offer both fuel and in-store discounts can be a deciding factor in that initial decision on where to purchase fuel.
Beyond pricing at the pump, the Gas Buddy report data supports the idea that the entire facility matters – 79.7% of respondents listed the cleanliness they observe at the fuel area as a major influencer of further purchase decisions.
To encourage more fuel sales and provide that clean and welcoming exterior, c-stores should:
- Power wash canopies
- Ensure other visual aspects, such as parking lot striping, are clean and visible
- Ensure the entire area is well-lit
- Remove litter and empty garbage cans frequently
Curb Appeal’s Role in Overall Facilities Management
These small tasks can elevate conversion rates and drive convenience store sales, but curb appeal is only one part of a holistic approach to facility planning and facility maintenance.
If a store’s pumps don’t function correctly, it won’t matter if they’re clean. If a store’s layout is confusing or impedes customers finding the products they want to buy, no promotion can change that.
It’s critical to choose a facilities management partner who understands the convenience store ecosystem and can commit to helping elevate the entirety of your operation by ensuring your stores are open and operating at peak efficiency. The right partner will offer you end-to-end strategies aimed at keeping your doors open and equipment running so you can operate with minimal disruption to sales – as well as meet your unique needs and challenges to attract more customers and drive new revenue by fully leveraging what your site is capable of.
To learn more about how Vixxo can help, contact us today.