Customer Experience Starts at the Pump

For years, convenience stores were considered one-stop shops aimed at quick refueling and low-end purchases. Nothing more than an easily accessible location to grab a few items and get back on the road without delay. Over the years, consumer expectations have evolved. Gone are the days when speed and convenience were enough to drive consumers to your door. Even the best loyalty programs and products promotions aren’t enough to lure would-be customers to spend money inside your store if the assumption of your food service program is shaped by their experiences out at the pump. These days consumers are more health-conscious than ever and simply demand more from where they choose to purchase fuel or grab a bite to eat. With that in mind, as c-store owners search for new and improved ways to drive customers indoors – where profit margins are the highest – many fail to consider the impact the condition of their fueling area has and lose sight of the importance of maintaining a clean forecourt.  In fact, research has shown that “after street price, cleanliness is the number one reason customers choose to visit a convenience store (M.A.R.C. Research)”. In business, everything we do must have a positive return on investment – maintaining an inviting exterior can do just that. It’s been proven that consistently clean stores consistently sell more products, earn higher profits, and have more loyal customer than dirty stores. So how do you take the first step toward improving customer loyalty and increasing your revenues? You start with your customer’s first impression… like oil stained fuel lanes. Oil stains aren’t just a slip and fall hazard they are unsightly and among the most prevalent eyesores found at c-stores and retail fuel locations. Worse yet… they can be costly to remove, and thousands of new drops are left behind every month. Another great place to start are dirty surfaces like dispensers and trashcans. I don’t know about you… but there is nothing worse than swinging in to your local fuel center on the way to work and getting my hands or worse yet, my clothes all dirty. Not to mention what that implies to consumers about the cleanliness of the restroom, level of service, or even the quality of food found inside the store. And let’s not forget about smelly squeegee buckets, the endless graffiti, and sun-damaged or vandalized dispenser screens. These too are just a few of the common challenges that prevent customers from choosing one location over the next. If increasing the performance of your stores' revenue is your goal, maintaining a clean store will get you there!