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Persuade Them at the Pump: Ideas for Gaining In-store Foodservice Lift

July 12, 2020
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Your c-store’s location and gas prices can attract a customer to the pumps, but drawing them in-store is an entirely different challenge. Only 35% of c-store gas customers step foot inside the convenience store.

Persuading your customer to shop in-store with the right marketing and purchase incentive is a worthwhile investment in time and resources. Doing so increases your profit margins through foodservice sales and improves customer loyalty.

Here are seven ideas to help incentivize in-store sales from your gas customers:

 
1. Offer discounts on paired items.
Food is one of the most common impulse purchases. Unfortunately, you lose that sale when gas customers don’t come in-store. To bridge the gap, advertise discounts on commonly paired foodservice items at the pumps. Offer a discount or special sale on coffee and a bakery item, or a soft drink with a hot dog. Some c-stores advertise a free cup of coffee with a gas purchase. This draws the customer in with hopes they’ll grab a snack with their free drink.

 
2. Invest in digital gas-pump television
It takes approximately three-to-five minutes to fill a tank of gas. In that short span of time, a gas-pump television can entertain, engage and advertise to your customer. One benefit of Gas Station TV is that every customer gets their own screen, which helps draw attention away from their personal smartphone. The result is a captive audience with a potential for targeted messaging on featured meals or low store prices.

 
3. Partner with a local business
Trusted partnerships with foodservice suppliers or restaurants can enhance your c-store’s foodservice. For example, selling a special brand of doughnuts or coffee can incentivize loyalists to shop at your store to purchase those brands on-the-go. You can also create mutual discounts, in which a food purchase from your c-store results in a discount from another business. Get creative!

 
4. Offer a cash payment discount on gasoline
The data is clear that customers prefer to pay for gas with a credit or debit card. Only 15 percent of customers use cash. Cash payments guarantee an in-store payment, which makes a visitor to your c-store more likely to browse your product displays or grab ‘n go snacks near the register. Try offering a discount of $0.05 per gallon for cash payments and see if it doesn’t persuade your customer to use cash in lieu of their usual card payment.

 
5. Sell grocery items
Convenience stores have a competitive advantage over supermarkets: they are less crowded and better located. To create a one-stop-shopping experience for your customer, start selling popular grocery or pantry items at your c-store. Doing so will provide a new revenue stream from shoppers who aren’t ready to brave crowded aisles amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

 
6. Uplevel of your foodservice
People already associate your store with convenience, but what if they had a new perception about your foodservice offerings? Uplevel your foodservice reputation by offering a new, broader menu. Or, experiment with healthy grab ‘n go options or self-order kiosks. Advertise your new offerings at the pump and see what sticks with your buyers.

 
7. Personalize your loyalty program
Your customers are always giving you information about themselves. Are you paying attention? Analyze purchase data to learn more about your returning customers. Then, segment your audience based on their buying behavior. Doing this allows you to send relevant loyalty program promotions, which can motivate future in-store sales.

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