Imagine a customer driving into a c-store and they immediately notice that the store looks different. They’ve been here many times before but something just seems brighter, fresher, more organized. Then it dawns on them…the c-store they passively visit from time to time now seems more attractive and inviting. Yes, it’s been their destination to buy gas for years, but because the forecourt looked disorganized, dirty and unkempt, they never wanted to visit the interior of the store. Until now…
Remarkably, this scenario plays out daily. How often do you listen to feedback from mystery shoppers and regular customers to learn practical solutions for a better customer experience? At CAF we know “Clean Stores. Sell More!” Customers can equate the cleanliness of your forecourt and bathrooms with the cleanliness of your entire business, which elevates their customer experience. Take for example Oasis Stop ‘N Go… “Cleanliness is critical to our overall business, and our customers have a very high expectation of maintaining clean stores....” ~ Troy Willie, CEO
When asked what the first thing that Wawa CEO, Chris Gheysens, looked for to show whether a store is operating well in a recent article he said, “The first thing I look for is cleanliness. It starts on the drive in. So cleanliness.” This is especially true in today's culture; word of mouth and online reviews can make a big difference in the success of your business.
Customers don’t want to buy or order food from a store that looks like it could have food safety issues. Do you know what your customers are saying online about their experiences at your store? A negative Yelp or Google review, tweet or blog post can deter customers from shopping at your store. The most recent research shows that store cleanliness strongly affects buyer behavior and that it's one of the most important factors driving a better customer experience:
- A Market Force study of 7,600 convenience store customers, shoppers rated store cleanliness as the most important factor when deciding which convenience store deserved their business.
- Mintel, a Chicago-based research firm, found that in convenience stores that serve food, 96 percent of surveyed customers ranked cleanliness and menu selection as their most important criteria.
- In the same Mintel study, 57 percent of those surveyed said that if a restroom's appearance was lacking, they would likely not return to the establishment.
Consumers have strong reactions to dirty conditions and won't return to businesses that disappoint them. If increasing the performance of your stores — and revenue — is your goal, maintaining a clean store will get you there. If maintaining a clean store was easy, everyone would be doing it.
CAF’s key to a successful cleaning program includes proper training, managing employee engagement, as well as a plan to monitor and manage results. Learn more about creating loyal customers for your c-store by contacting your regional CAF representative today or call (888) 737-0025.