The 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. The Playbook starts off by identifying the 3 core needs of c-store customers. In order, they are:
- Cleanliness & Safety customers feel very comfortable shopping in your store
- items are always in stock
- Consistent Value
- customers get good value for their money
Meeting these core needs is huge. Research shows that “delivering on the (core needs) is your minimum cost of entry to even be considered as a retail choice.” And as the competitive landscape continues to rise year over year, the Playbook encourages retailers to evaluate their current business plans to look for any chinks in the armor in these three areas. This self-diagnosis “actually holds the most potential business growth… since getting the basics right is the foundation for everything else in building your business. It is also the hardest to do since it requires attention every day.” NACS’s recently released SOI numbers this month, and the “industry’s in-store sales of $214.9 billion represent an increase of 4.6% over 2013. (NACS State of the Industry Report 2014) If your fuel and in-store sales aren’t where you like them to be, look at the 3 core needs again. Chances are you might be falling short in one or more areas, and missing out on major industry growth opportunities. Another key opportunity was that the top quartile performers were more than twice as profitable ($16,495 more profit per store per month) as the next closest quartile by executing on the core needs.