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Apr 15, 2021

6 tips to drive profitability and promotions on the forecourt

It is no secret convenience stores generate most of their revenue from inside sales. The challenge lies in driving customers inside the store from the forecourt after what is considered a “distressed purchase” and often just a stop between two locations.

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores’ (NACS) State of the Industry Report (2019), top convenience store operators “invested five times more into their advertising and promotion, three times more into their communications and five times more into their technology.” Considering the top 25% of store operators promote incremental products and services to achieve their success, it is worth diving deeper into how they do this.

With the powers of promotion, communication and technology in mind, let’s look at six ways you can increase customer spend per visit and drive repeat business.

6 tips to drive profitability and promotions on the forecourt

Integrate loyalty programs and offer prepared food options

Technology has made it easier than ever to tie promotions to purchases and reward customer loyalty. PDI
Marketing reported 66% of consumers belong to a loyalty program that rewards them with fuel savings, and
Accenture said 57% of consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal.

Now is the time to capitalize on personal trends for your business benefit. The benefits are plenty: reward repeat customers, increase foot traffic with targeted promotions, and learn from the consumer data you will be able to track by frequency, spend, preferences and more. As e-commerce continues to grow, position curbside pickup or delivery options within your loyalty programs to enhance your value offering.

NCR reports foodservice accounts for 21% of retail sales but contributes 34% of profits inside the store. If you aren’t offering a foodservice option today, a great place to start is with prepared food options because this subsector accounts for more than 60% of the revenue generated within the category. As 2020 caused consolidation in the restaurant industry, there is no better time than now to branch into foodservice options.
Creating the right menu is just one part of this equation. Inform your customers of your new offering with photos of your menu items to promote unique specials throughout the day. In-dispenser advertising is a proven method to drive traffic inside by communicating with a captive audience.

Promote Lotto tickets as upsell opportunities and tailor your store to your community

For the effort it takes to fill out an online application and submit a small fee, you can expand your offering to your customers. The average fuel retailer nets $2,000/month from adding lottery services (NACS). This low-cost, low-effort portfolio enhancer can generate traffic from the forecourt or upsell routine purchases. The technology of self-service lotto stations guarantees ease-of-use if you have a small footprint available to try it out.

You can benefit from national and local promotions about lottery winnings and extend that marketing to your store. Take advantage of digital signage opportunities to make sure your advertising stays up to date. Consider having a competition with your cashiers to see who can sell the most tickets in a month.

No one knows your store or your community better than you do. Harness that knowledge to engage your community in new and exciting ways.

• Event-based promotions: Food and drink specials for customers with tickets to tonight’s game
• Tie best-sellers to high margin products: Promote coffee and pastry specials to drive customers toward your foodservice
• Utilize daily specials: Entice customers to return on days when they may not need to re-fuel

6 tips to drive profitability and promotions on the forecourt

Invest in a bagged ice machine and extend customer visits with car washes

Bagged ice options are low-maintenance value adds for all types of customers in varying regions. The machines do not require valuable space inside your store and provide their own branding space for promotions. While ice may not sell as well in January in North Dakota, consider your location and if your customers could benefit from on-the-go ice solutions: Are you close to parks, sports complexes, lakes, campgrounds or special event centers? Are you right off the highway to conveniently top-off road trip coolers? Remember, regardless of location, holiday gatherings lead to purchasing spikes in urban and rural communities alike. states the profit margin on one 20-pound bag of ice can be 200-500% based on your pricing. Simply selling 30 bags per day at a reasonable $2.50/unit would generate $25,000 annually. With an initial investment as low as $35,000 and a lifetime of more than 20 years, ice machines can have an impressive ROI for your business.

If real estate allows, car washes have proven their value time and time again. According to NACS, the average operating income from car washes for stores of any size averages $6,000/month. For an additional hands-off service to increase spend per site visit, car washes are great opportunities for the right locations. Whether you take the opportunity to promote car washes while people fill their tanks or promote single-serve beverages while people wash their cars, the promotional opportunity is yours for the taking with two captive audiences.

6 tips to drive profitability and promotions on the forecourt

Dover Fueling Solutions® and Wayne Fueling Systems have been proud to partner with businesses like yours for more than 125 years. We are committed to being your technology leader and finding new ways to drive new business.

For a personalized conversation on ideas how to take your store’s promotions to the next level, contact your Regional Sales Manager today.

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