Gas stations and convenience stores (or c-stores) are a thriving industry, and have been a fixture on the American scene since the first c-store opened in 1927. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), there are more than 153,000 c-store locations operating in the United States, bringing in $242.2 billion from inside sales and another $412.1 billion from fuel sales.
Competition is fierce, but with the right tools and best practices for gas station management, you can set your business up for success in 2020. Here’s how to maximize your growth potential:
Shrinkage, or financial losses caused by theft, damage, or other human actions, can have a significant impact on your bottom line. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that shrinkage costs retailers at least 1.33% of sales.
If you want to maximize profitability in 2020, shrinkage reduction must become a priority. The #1 source of shrinkage in the U.S. is internal theft of cash or goods by employees, which accounts for 45% of losses, according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer. Other sources of shrinkage include:
It’s therefore crucial to find a quality solution that integrates with your point of sale (POS) to give you increased visibility and control into your operations. The right loss prevention software can identify high-risk transactions such as voids or “no-sales” and compare with video data to provide verifiable proof when theft occurs. Not only does it help you spot problems, but the knowledge that you’re using it can be a deterrent itself.
Customers volunteer an immense amount of data about their purchases. This veritable gold mine of information can be used to your advantage in your gas station management. Armed with the knowledge gained from your POS and back-office system—such as an item by sale tag report showing which items customers are purchasing most and when—you can create personalized targeted marketing campaigns that will be more effective than a generic offer.
You’ll gain a better understanding of what demographic groups are purchasing what items, which can help you with decisions on what to stock. You can also strengthen your loyalty program by offering the rewards that will most appeal to your customers.
Improved marketing and increased loyalty based on insights into customer preferences both lead to higher sales, increased profits, and overall business success.
Inventory is one of the costliest aspects of running any business, and that is especially true for c-store and gas station management. Run out of a popular item, and you disappoint customers who will take their business elsewhere. Stock too much of something that isn’t selling, and it could spoil on your shelves, or at the very least, take up valuable space that could be used for better-selling merchandise (and you might have to slash prices—and reduce profits—to get rid of it).
Every gas station and c-store needs an effective inventory management system. The right solution will work with your POS data to track how well items are (or are not) selling, so you can make informed buying decisions. And it should alert you when it’s time to re-order products that you need to ensure that you’re never caught short.
Even when you have the perfect balance of inventory, it isn’t going anywhere without reliable, effective employees. Your POS solution should include labor management for optimal scheduling so you’re never short-staffed and potentially losing sales to impatient customers, or over-staffed and paying too much in labor costs.
Good leadership is also an important part of c-store and gas station management. Employees who are treated well and given the ongoing training and support they need will be motivated to do their best for you and provide positive experiences for your customers.
Did you know that there’s currently a 40% industry decline in sales of tobacco and cigarettes? As a c-store owner, what are you doing to replace those lost sales?
If you haven’t yet implemented made-to-order foodservice, now is the time. Not only will you boost sales and profitability in 2020, but you’ll provide a better customer experience and grow your loyal customer base. The right technology makes it easy to improve all aspects of c-store and gas station management. Petrosoft is your ally in achieving success in 2020. To find out more about how our industry-specific solutions can maximize your efficiencies and grow your profits, contact Petrosoft today.