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C-Store Industry Pointers

  • Is There a ROI Behind the “Customer Experience” Buzz?

    Is There a ROI Behind the “Customer Experience” Buzz?
    Emphasis on the improving the customer experience is at an all-time high.  But in a world where business owners want verifiable data to justify spending. Does spending money on customer experience make good business sense?  That’s what one research group set out to evaluate.

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  • Meeting Customer Core Needs

    core needsThe NACS/Coca Cola Research Council has published the Playbook For Success: a 3-Step Guide to Growing C-Store Business. This guide lays out the fundamentals for running a successful c-store operation.s

    The Playbook starts off by identifying the 3 core needs of c-store customers. In order, they are:

     

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  • C-Stores, Restaurants, and the Battle For Market Share

    The Competition: Restaurants

    As quick-service restaurants and convenience stores fight for foodservice dollars, fast-casual concepts hit all the right consumer notes

    There’s been some bad news for fast-food restaurants as of late. Formerly the king of the hill as far as breakfast is concerned, these operators are meeting increasingly fierce competition from c-stores. Continue reading

  • Case Study: Texas Petroleum Retailer

    As part of a new Customer Excellence initiative, a CAF customer headquartered in Texas discovered several opportunities to improve their customer experience, cleanliness scores on outdoors areas, and the frequency of pressure washing at their stores. These improvements helped save them significant operational cost in their cleaning efforts.

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  • Clean Smarter - Not Harder

    The status quo for convenience retailers has evolved over the years and having a dirty store exterior is no longer an option. You can’t afford to overlook cleanliness any longer because your customers aren’t. Unfortunately, many retailers understand this and are focused on being clean but have found that doing so can be very costly and very difficult to achieve real results.

    We have provided some ideas on how to save you time and money on the two most common challenges that you face in your forecourt cleaning efforts.

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  • Customer Loyalty: Thinking Outside the Card

    Competition in the retail petroleum industry is stiff, especially if you are an Independent C-store Operator.   Lately, retailers have been turning to loyalty cards or similar programs to help. The problem is that these programs are expensive to maintain, hard to quantify, and won’t truly set you apart anymore.  The actual reasons why your customers might choose your store over the competition may come as a surprise to you.

    Did you know that loyalty and brand programs are NOT the #1 reason that your customers will choose to visit your location over another? Now we are not saying that loyalty programs, such as cards, are not valuable. We know they are, and when managed properly, they can be a great asset to a convenience store in growing sales and profit dollars. The issue that we are talking about is differentiating yourself from the “Big Box” retailer or the “Mom and Pop” store down the road from you doing the very same thing.  We are talking about giving your customers another reason to choose your location over theirs.

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  • Take More Crap from Your Customers

     

    Smart convenience retailers are focused on improving the customer experience at their store and many have turned to clean restrooms to do so. For some retailers, having clean restrooms has proven to be a key driver of in-store traffic.  This is important because getting more of your customers to come inside the store is a HUGE opportunity when you consider that 65% of your profit dollars come from in-store sales [NACS 2014]. But did you know that on average 46% of your fuel station customers never come into the store[NACS 2014]? That’s a lot of lost opportunity for additional sales and profit dollars!

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  • The Value of Clean

    See how cleaning can help improve your customer loyalty and save you money. Check it out!

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  • Take Action: Fight Back with the BIG Box Retailers

     

    Sam’s Club, Costco, Kroger, Wal-Mart: Does hearing these names make you feel sick to your stomach?  Maybe they make you feel a bit angry? Regardless of your feelings towards them, the fact is that they are taking your customers and your volume wherever they go. As the petroleum industry begins to see more and more of these “Big Boys” moving in (Wal-Mart just announced plans to open 2-5K fuel locations), C-store operators are left behind wondering how they can compete.

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  • Cigarette Sales - Going [Down] in Smoke

    Here at CAF, we don’t claim to be experts in tobacco retailing but we have noticed some alarming trends in the last few years that have been impacting our retail customers.  In 2013, industry statistics show that more than 1/3 of your in-store revenue most likely came directly from tobacco sales and that nearly 1/4 of in-store visits yielded a purchase of cigarettes.  That’s huge!  But, as you know, tobacco sales are starting to decline and are predicted to continue to do so.

    On average, 18% of a C-store’s in-store profit dollars come from Cigarette sales – so that lost revenue really hurts!

    What can you do to recover your profit dollars?

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