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The Importance of Owning the Entire Customer Experience

By June 8, 2022June 24th, 2022No Comments

As a convenience store operator, you need to own the customer experience from the time someone drives onto your property to the time they leave. The messaging should be 100 percent controlled by you to ensure that it is cohesive.

Where does that leave your vendors?

Vendors and retailers are in a constant push and pull as it relates to promotions, set changes and product placement in the store. How these promotions intermingle with your proprietary products and services is important because vendors are only thinking about selling their products. On the other hand, you need to consider the entire customer experience.

You can still incorporate vendor marketing, but you need to control when, how and where it is being utilized. It’s easy for vendors to want to add all sorts of marketing materials to your property, but that is primarily in their own self-interest. That’s not to say some of it isn’t worth having, but you need to make sure you are controlling what your customers see on all parts of your property to create a message that is reflective of your brand, not your vendors’ brands.

It’s also OK to push back and turn down promotional campaigns from vendors. A number of cliches can apply here: “If everything is on sale, nothing is on sale.” And also: “If you shout too much, no one listens to anything you’re saying.” Remember to be thoughtful and specific about the way you tailor promotions because It’s better to pick three good ones than 30 bad ones.

How do you incorporate vendor materials?

Instead of allowing vendors to dictate promotions and in-store branding , you should control what items you want to promote and when to promote them. You should also control the placement of any promotional materials in your store, all the while keeping the customer experience in mind. For example, a soft drink vendor may want to place a cooler right in the middle of the entrance to your store. That’s great for them because every customer must walk by it, but it could be annoying to your customers, becoming a point of friction they have to walk around as they enter or exit the store.

Don’t forget about the forecourt either. If you promote a vendor’s product at the dispenser and entice them to buy it at the dispenser or from your loyalty app, you’re adding an extra 10 seconds to their experience at the dispenser. This is great for the vendor because they are in front of the customer, but it negatively impacts the customer experience, making it less likely for customers to return to your property.

What about proprietary products?

If possible, you want your retail environment to be as immersive as possible, so that you can orchestrate the entire customer journey. It will allow you to be more effective at delivering a great customer experience, while maximizing the higher margins on your proprietary products. If you own the customer experience, you can weave your own goals of selling products with a higher profit margin into the customer journey as opposed to allowing vendors to dictate all of the messaging inside your store.

Remember, you only have so much space on your property for promotional materials. If you allow your vendors to take too much of it, there will be little room left for the promotion of your own proprietary products. And if you include too much advertising, the store looks cluttered, and customers don’t know where to look, which—you guessed it—negatively impacts the customer experience.

As a retailer, you need to ensure the entire customer experience is positive and cohesive, so customers become loyal to your brand and addicted your proprietary products and services.