Seven Ways to Improve Convenience Store Profitability
Lexy Garrett, Sageworks
When a convenience store becomes more profitable, it is able to expand its offerings and, in turn, attract more customers. Taking some simple steps to improve profitability in a c-store may give a store an edge against competitors and help make it more successful.
Here are seven suggestions for improving profitability:
1. Replace old lighting
Consider using T8 lighting rather than T12 lighting to conserve energy and also provide a more pleasant experience for customers. T8 lighting is more efficient than its predecessor, so it can help save money.
2. Watch that thermostat
During the summer, increasing the standard temperature in a c-store by 1 to 2 degrees can save a lot in energy costs. Conversely, during the winter, decrease the standard temperature by 1 to 2 degrees. This will save money without having a big impact on the comfort of customers.
3. Take advantage of chain store marketing
Consider taking advantage when restaurant chains are advertising limited-time offers, such as a specialized chicken sandwich or meatball sub, by offering a similar product. Your customers will likely have seen the chain’s advertising, so the product will be on their mind, and they might be primed to purchase it at your store if you promote it.
4. Discounts for paying with cash
Consider offering a several-cent discount on each gallon of gas when customers pay with cash. This small discount could make each transaction more profitable by avoiding credit/debit card fees. It also may make more customers likely to choose a certain gas station because of the opportunity to get a discount, and it could bring more footsteps into the store where food and drink sales could benefit.
5. Opening and closing
Consider writing up a procedure list to post behind the counter that thoroughly describes every step involved in opening and closing. This helps to avoid simple but sometimes costly mistakes that employees may make.
6. Move cash from the register
Emphasize to employees the importance of moving cash from the register to the designated safe. This way, in the case of a robbery, the store loses less money. Consider posting a sign about having limited cash in the registers. This also deters theft.
7. Chip readers
Consider installing credit/debit card chip readers at your gas station rather than the standard card sliders. Investing in the chip reader will return the liability of any fraudulent transactions back to the bank. Also, chip readers may make customers feel more confident in their security while paying at the pump.
Lexy Garrett is a marketing manager at Sageworks, a financial information company that provides financial analysis and cash flow applications to business owners and their accountants.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.