PSA on Gas Prices

Turn on a TV or open a newspaper these days, and you’ll likely see a story about the record high price of gas in the U.S. As a convenience store owner, you’re probably all too aware of the increasing prices, but it’s important to make sure your customers understand where the increase is coming from.

Most Americans don’t understand the dynamics of the convenience retail and fuel distribution industries. They don’t understand that the price at your pump is highly influenced by many factors in the distribution pipeline like oil producers, refiners and storage tank owners, just to name a few. They don’t understand that while the price of a gallon of gas is up, your profit margins on fuel have decreased as highlighted in this recent Barron’s article.

The cost of gas is a stressor for most Americans right now. While there is nothing you can do to ease that stress, it is important to realize that your customer base probably doesn’t understand your situation. It can be beneficial in situations like these to leverage those few minutes they are on your property to correct the record.

The display screens in your fuel pumps can be used for many purposes, and creating and managing your company’s brand is a great use of the retail technology that you’ve invested in. Explain who you are and what you do. Take the time to share some of your important brand messaging and that gas is not the only thing that you sell. Demonstrate that you are part of your customer’s community. Whether you are sponsoring the local food bank for kids or planting trees throughout the community, you have a meaningful story to tell. This can help customers understand who you are, what your business is, and why they should choose to shop with you.

High gas prices also negatively impact in-store conversions, especially for more novelty items. As gas prices rise, focus on promoting “convenience essentials.” This can include affordable meal combinations, proprietary salty snacks, well priced dispensed beverages and core grocery products, like milk, eggs, and bread. It’s important to make sure customers know that you are an affordable option and a destination for those everyday snacks and essentials.

It’s always beneficial to take advantage of your screens to tell your story to customers, but it’s even more important in an inflationary business environment like this one hitting people from all sides.

How to Analyze and Use Sales Data

Customer feedback is heavily sought after in all industries, and retail is in a unique position in that every transaction is an important data point. In fact, the customer is already telling you what they want to buy. You just have to respond by looking at the data points and implementing the right actions as if they filled out a survey.

Your sales data is a treasure trove of information that you can use to improve your business. If you leverage it to inform your media at the dispenser and other shopper marketing strategies, the historical sales data you already have can help you promote the right products at the right times, increasing sales and overall profitability.

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How to Improve the Customer Journey

It’s easy for retailers to get caught up in their own interests and sometimes lose focus on what’s important. How can I get the customer to buy more? How do I increase customer footfalls and retention? How do I make the most out of each customer? All valid questions, but if your focus is on issues like these, you’re losing sight of the fact that your customer is your biggest advocate.

Think about the customer journey in terms of what you can give the customer and what you can take away from the customer to make their experience better. Focusing on this improves the customer experience, which should have a direct effect on answering the questions we already spelled out.

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3 Tips for Choosing a Tech Partner

As a technology company, we know it can be difficult for people—especially those who aren’t technologically savvy—to choose a tech partner. In an industry like convenience retail, technology has been a little slower moving, so it was easier to avoid. But now, it’s time to embrace new, innovative technologies that can improve your business if you haven’t already.

So, if your knowledge of computers and other devices stops at “Did you restart it?,” here’s what you need to know to vet potential technology companies for your business.

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3 Tips for Creating Cohesion Among Multiple Platforms

C-stores are managing an ever-growing set of marketing platforms as technology expands, and there are more opportunities to reach customers in new ways. With the utilization of many shopper marketing vehicles, cohesion becomes critical. Everything from the fonts and colors that you use to the images and messages in your materials, your brand presence needs to be cohesive.

Mismatched design creates cognitive dissonance. For example, if you use warm colors in videos and neutrals throughout your store design, it makes it difficult for customers to ingest information because they are distracted by the fact that it isn’t flowing or matching. This lack of cohesion prevents customers from mentally connecting the messages. Make sure brand attributes, colors and more are unified to get the most out of your digital merchandising. Your merchandising messages should feel like they belong together, regardless of where customers are experiencing them.

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3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Loyalty Program

Shopper marketing encompasses the entire customer journey from the moment the customer drives onto your property and sees signage in the forecourt all the way through the customer checking out at the register. While most retailers intend for a loyalty app to drive customers to the property, a loyalty app is the perfect component to a shopper marketing strategy, adding value for the retailer and completing the journey for the customer while they are at your store.

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The Importance of Infotainment for Customer Engagement

Customer engagement decreases every time someone interacts with a platform that doesn’t engage or pique interest in some way. People have a natural tendency to tune out advertising or sounds and images they’ve seen or heard repeatedly. It’s why parents don’t pull their hair out when they hear a crying baby after the first month. In other words, if your content is repetitive or boring, no one is going to pay attention to it, and therefore, your message won’t get the views it needs to be valuable.

Convenience store retailers need to leverage infotainment or they might as well put up a blank screen. Infotainment means different things to different people, but here is what the experts at Shep have learned.

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3 Keys to Shopper Marketing All C-Stores Need to Know

You’re probably familiar with more traditional advertising tactics for getting customers to your store, but there are also dozens of opportunities for unique marketing strategies once a customer has stepped on to your property. This is called shopper marketing.

Shopper marketing is used to incent a purchase or change purchasing behavior. Or, in more user-friendly phrasing, it is how you get customers to buy what you want them to buy—sometimes even when they did not plan on it. Collectively, every piece of advertising material on your property equals shopper marketing. That includes digital signage, screens in fuel pumps, pump toppers, wobblers, shelf talkers, beauty shots in the store, promotional pricing on shelves, end caps and more.

So, how do you make the most out of the materials you probably already have? We’re glad you asked.

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