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Petrosoft Blog

Nov 18, 2019 15:07 pm

Strategic Ways to Improve Convenience Store Profitability

C-store owners have two big challenges: meet customer expectations and stay profitable. For some owners, doing both may seem impossible.

Changing customer expectations are driven largely by their use of technology. C-store owners that use technology to run their stores and interact with customers will have an edge in keeping up with customer demands while also increasing revenue and convenience store profitability.

There are four key areas that c-store owners can focus on to boost profits in a changing business landscape.

Convenience Store Profitability Starts with Item Level Inventory

It’s no secret that many c-store owners don’t have adequate control over their inventory. But it’s also no secret that inventory control directly affects convenience store profitability.

The best way to control inventory for better profits is at the item level, which means you’re tracking the number of items sold as opposed to the number of pallets or cases. Controlling inventory at this level helps you better track current stock, sales, and provides better information to make projections for future orders.

Making time to do this accurately is a challenge that owners face and if you’re tracking technology the old-fashioned way: pen and paper or spreadsheets, item level tracking is not practical, despite the benefits.

Technology has advanced to give c-store owners the tools to track inventory accurately so you can make better buying decisions.

Get the Product Mix Right

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), “Shoppers recognize the c-store channel of trade for its convenient locations, extended hours of operation, one-stop shopping, grab-and-go foodservice, variety of merchandise, and fast transactions.” From snacks to tobacco, beer, and food services, customers like choices.

According to NACS merchandise sales are broken down as follows:

  • Cigarettes: 31% of in-store sales
  • Foodservice (prepared and commissary food; hot, cold and dispensed beverages): 22.6%
  • Packaged beverages (carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, water, sports drinks, juices and teas): 15.3%
  • Center of the store (salty, candy, packaged sweet snacks and alternative snacks): 10.4%
  • Other tobacco products: 6.7%
  • Beer: 6.3% (12.4% for stores selling beer)
  • Other: 7.7%

To make money and meet customer expectations, c-store owners must anticipate what customers will want and understand the margin for each product they sell. By stocking the right mix of products, c-stores can attract a wider variety of customers. Modern c-store technology gives storeowners an accurate view of what’s moving and what’s not to help owners better meet customer demands.

Add Self-Checkout

When lines form at the checkout, customer patience wanes. Customers shop c-stores to save time, and you can help them with a self-checkout option. A recent study shows that about 40 percent of retail shoppers prefer self-checkout.

Self-checkout speeds up purchases for items that don’t require age verification, and can free up employees to ensure that only customers of legal age can buy tobacco, alcohol, and lottery items.

Self-checkout allows your employees to focus on other tasks and meet the customer need for speed.

Tie it all Together with Cloud-based Software

Item-level inventory, getting the product mix right, and self-checkout — along with nearly every other aspect of making money in a c-store, can now all be managed through a single online portal.

End-to-end cloud-based retail systems deliver a seamless experience for customers and retailers alike by capturing customer data and buying patterns in ways that optimize inventory and margins, and speed transactions to create the best shopping experience.

Cloud-based platforms centralize data, and centralization is becoming more important as the number of customer touch points multiplies across multiple channels. Customers make buying decisions at the fuel pump, in the made-to-order foodservice area, at the checkout counter, and from their home or office.

Cloud-based retail platforms also reduce IT expenses and simplify complex, multi-vendor systems.

Customers are changing, the industry is changing, and c-store owners that adjust to these changes can get more control over inventory, customer experience, and profit. Cloud-based back-office c-store systems give storeowners the information they need to make better decisions.

Successful Convenience Stores Partner with Petrosoft

And, with the right partner, adding a cloud-based system to your store is easier than you might think. Schedule a demo today.