Convenience stores are like the last bus that can take you home late at night. Whether you are a commuter or a traveler, you will be seeing one of them on the road with a gas station or on a busy street in a commercial suburb. You can see a convenience store in every part of the country, equipped with convenience store supplies, like slushy machines, hot dog grills, or coffee dispensers. They are always there and generally open 24 hours. They enable you to refuel your car and grab various products such as snack foods, beverages, and refreshments when you are on the way to your holiday destination or workplace.
However, the survival of these c-stores depends on the thin profit margin that they make on in-store and motor fuel sales. So, all convenience store owners should be careful from the beginning of their business. Hence, preferring the right convenience store supplies and equipment, conducting clever planning, and cautious operating processes are vital for these businesses not to consume their small profitability percentage.
To provide an insight to create a better performing convenience store, we have gathered 7 tips to increase your profit through your in-store sales.
1. Plan Elaborately, Spend Smartly
Convenience stores require a substantial amount of money to be invested as well as much of your time to be allocated for both opening and operating. Therefore, you should have a detailed plan and a balanced budget to control this complicated procedure.
When you consider renovating, taking over, or opening a convenience store, you must start with careful and detailed planning. It would be best if you started with a business plan which includes:
- Location: The advantages and disadvantages of the area you plan to operate, such as a busy road or street, business district, or mall entrance,
- Customer Base: The number of people or cars that pass in front of the store,
- Competition: Any competitor who sells the same products and services in the neighboring location,
- Products And Services To Be Sold: Deciding what to sell depending on the competitors’ inventory,
- Suppliers: Equipping your store with the right convenience store supplies and equipment,
- Staff: Finding necessary personnel with affordable salaries,
- Monthly Costs: Collecting data about the rent, taxes, personnel salaries, bills, and, more importantly, inventory costs.
To make the most of your initial capital, you should be careful when spending your money. As you can predict, most of your budget will be paid for the necessary convenience store equipment. You can decrease your initial investment by utilizing the “Price Match” feature to quote the same price as any other supplier would give you. Or, you can divide your payments into small installments through the financing services to pay your investment as you make money from the needed equipment.
2. Create and Attractive Design and Use Your Space Smartly
There are more than 150,000 convenience stores around the United States, which means you are in a pool full of competitors. Hence, your first aim should be attracting customers to your convenience store with a sleek design, illuminated interior, an eye-catching sign, and organized layout.
The average time that the travelers or commuters spend in a convenience store is around 3-4 minutes, including the gas refueling. Hence, after bringing your customer into your store, you will have very limited time to show your products to the customers to make the purchase. This can only be achieved with an organized floor plan that enables customers to see all they need and easily find what they want.
In this case, glass door merchandisers are the right convenience store supplies to be added in any market or gas station store to display water bottles, beverages, drinks, beers, and other refreshments. These types of convenience store supplies keep the beverages and drink cold, which are most frequently bought during the summer months. When the sales of convenience stores experience up to 17% surge in summer months is taken into consideration, offering cold refreshments to the customers can be said to be a key for boosting sales.
Besides, you can opt to add a nicely lit and designed ice cream freezer or an ice cream maker at the entrance of your store to allure travelers to enjoy their journey with a cold sweet snack. However, all these merchandisers and display freezers occupy ample valuable space in your store. Therefore, you can better utilize your space with countertop glass door refrigerators and freezers. This will lower your spendings while providing an attractive displaying area at your customers’ eye level.
Or, you can get professional help for design and layout planning to organize the merchandisers and convenience store supplies to contribute to your business can be a better option while creating or renewing your layout.
3. Enrich Your Inventory
Another point to keep in mind for more profit in a convenience store is to have a large inventory of products and services to offer the customers. Even though motor fuel sales are essential for the gas station stores, about 23% of the convenience stores’ sales come from the food service. Therefore, you should add the necessary convenience store supplies to your store to offer hot food, fresh juice, cold snacks, sandwiches, and desserts to grow your sales and profitability.
For instance, particularly the convenience stores serving the commuters can increase their customer base by offering fresh juice at every time of day with commercial juicers. This commercial kitchen equipment offers a nice view of fresh fruit to attract customers. It also rapidly prepares fresh juice, which is on-trend, especially among the office workers.
You can also offer pre-made sandwiches that are freshly prepared on the sandwich and salad prep tables with the chilled vegetables and ingredients to maintain their texture and taste. You can even serve toasts by buying a commercial toaster or offer a delicious soup with a soup warmer to keep your sales up during the wintertime as well. These are the best choices for travelers and commuters to grab their snacks and continue their way to catch a meeting or reach a destination.
Apart from these, pizza, deli, and pastry products can also be offered. However, these products are to be served tasty and thus, you should keep them in proper places. For example, pizza slices should be kept in pizza warmers to maintain their warmth and taste, while some deli and dessert foods require refrigerated food displays to keep their best condition.
In addition to these food products, coffee brewers and coffee machines are crucial to increasing convenience stores’ sales. Coffee is the most consumed drink across the country. Therefore, offering a newly brewed, tasty, high-quality coffee will always attract customers to your convenience store and boost your sales with other foods and snacks.
4. Show them Your Inventory to the Customers
As the time the customers spend in a convenience store is limited, it is crucial to present all you have in your inventory as organized on racks or appropriate convenience store supplies and equipment. This will, of course, contribute to your profitability by increasing your sales. Nonetheless, it is also possible to save money while buying these products by selecting the most suitable ones with the right features and less energy consumption.
– Food warmers
These convenience store supplies provide an attractive food display while preserving the heat of the soups or other meals to serve them warm to the customers. Nacho warmers, popcorn poppers, or other heated food merchandisers are all these types of convenience store supplies that will contribute to your business.
– Hot dog steamers, grills
Even in many movies, the film star stops in front of a convenience store and buys a hot dog to continue his dangerous chase. So it would help if you also offer delicious hot dogs to your customers by keeping them in a healthy and proper place, such as a hot dog steamer.
– Coffee Machines, Hot Drink, and Beverage dispensers
You should include the necessary convenience store supplies in your store to make the customers regular because the right equipment will present a standard taste and fast service all the time to maximize customer satisfaction. While coffee machines offer freshly and smelly coffee, the beverage machines, and water dispensers will rapidly provide the passerby with a refreshing cup of juice, water, or a coke.
5. Eye Level=Buy Level
People tend to prefer products that are placed at their eye level. Hence, you should keep the highly profitable products at this level to boost your sales. Additionally, you should organize your layout to allow the customers to walk around and see all the products inside.
Convenience stores make a good amount of turnover from impulse sales. Therefore, you should place the frequently asked products, candies, confectionery, gums, and your specialties next to your serving counter to increase immediate buying by the customers. You can use countertop merchandisers to display beer, water, or other drinks and food display warmers to enable customers to make last-minute purchases.
6. Keep costs prices low
As convenience stores have thin margins of profit on their sales, they have to minimize costs and maximize sales to survive and expand their businesses. As an operator of a convenience store, you should follow a strict and rigid cost planning and monitoring routine. Therefore, you are advised to:
- Buy only the necessary convenience store supplies,
- Prefer energy-saving equipment,
- Get financing if you have a limited amount of financial resources,
- Decrease costs by saving space, energy, and personnel with smart and versatile equipment,
- Keep maintaining equipment to prevent break-downs,
- Prefer vendors with good customer service,
- Prevent product waste with commercial refrigerators, merchandisers, refrigerated display cases, and food warmers.
Cleaning is always a top priority for all food-serving businesses as it is crucial to prevent cross-contamination of diseases and the dissemination of bacteria and microbes. During the days of the global pandemics of COVID, the customers highly regard cleaning and sanitation. Therefore, all convenience stores must maintain a clean and sanitized store with a frequent cleaning routine.
You should start with keeping everything clean; floor, bathroom, cashier, counter, servicing areas, glass doors, and racks; basically everywhere in the store. Therefore, you should have all the relevant cleaning tools and products in your storage to keep it continuous. While mops and sanitizers are needed to clean the floor, the cleaning towels are significant for transparent merchandisers and clean food contact areas.
Additionally, the convenience stores with gas stations are visited mainly by travelers who also stop by for the bathrooms. Thus, you should keep the toilets clean to attract more customers to your convenience store. Additionally, you are recommended to set hand dryers and provide full soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers to maintain hygiene.
In conclusion, convenience stores are among the leading businesses that sell fuel and food products and drinks to millions of people every day. Nevertheless, they conduct their business on a thin line of profitability, just cents away from losses. These cents of profits add up to provide a living income for a family or a larger profit to create more jobs with new stores. Hence, the owners and the managers should carefully plan and conduct their investments and operations. Here, selecting the right convenience store supplies plays a key role in directly influencing sales, energy bills, and food waste.