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Is your store boring or interesting?

Ask any good convenience store operator how frequently they see their regular customers and they will tell you “every day”.  In fact, based on survey results reported at  Convenience U, over 80 % of Canadians say the regularly use / visit a convenience store, and over 52% said they shop at a convenience store 4 or more times per week.

In addition to this confirmation of the frequency with which customers visit a convenience store, there were some other facts of interest when trying to understand how to capture more of their business.

  • 85% of convenience customers say they spend 5 minutes or less each time they visit.
  • 67% of shoppers visit the same store for more than half of their shopping visits.
  • 75% of customers buy confectionery & snacks on impulse

What does all of this mean and how should it influence how you operate your store?

For your regular / high frequency customers, shopping at your store has probably become a habit. They know that you carry their favorite brands and products and they feel comfortable shopping in your store. In reality however, they probably shop for many of the same things on each visit and they probably follow that same traffic patterns when they are in your store because they know where the products that they want to buy are located. The only way that you are going to get their attention is to change around your merchandising displays on a frequent basis. With these customers, after a few visits, (it probably takes less than a week) they no longer “see” displays and products and your store starts to become boring!

And what about the rest of the customers who spend 5 minutes or less in your store? They don’t have time to “shop” your store so you better make your displays attractive, enticing, and interesting, and display the best sellers where they can easily find them if you want to get the most out of each customer.

With this in mind, here are some of the things you need to do so that your store is “interesting“ and not “boring” and so you can take advantage of the impulse nature of many of the products that you sell.

  • Keep the top of your pay point counter organized with just a few featured products, and never let products stay there for a long period of time. In fact you should be featuring a different product on your cash desk every second day or certainly every week.
  • Have a feature end display in a high traffic area where you can display the newest flavors of confectionery or snacks. (Industry experts tell us that up to 25% of sales come from new products, new flavors, etc.)
  • Have a promotional area where you can feature the latest “deals or specials”, but make sure it is changed frequently. (Every one likes a good deal)
  • Create some excitement with seasonal displays; i.e. Easter candy, Valentines Day products, fresh flowers for the weekend, etc.
  • Give some thought to “time of day” or “time of week” merchandising; e.g. fresh muffins or pastries on the counter in the morning when people are buying their coffee; headache or stomach remedies on Sunday morning for those who had too much partying Saturday night, take home multi-pack of beverages at the end of the week when people are going away to the cottage;
  • Check to make sure that your signs are all current and appropriate.
  • Build promotional floor displays and change them frequently.
  • Make changes in your store layout every few months so your customers will be exposed to different products and categories.

Although all of these changes take work and thought, if you are not moving things around, changing your displays and keeping your store an “interesting “ place to visit, you are probably missing out on the opportunity to sell your customers more products on each and every visit.

Hugh Large & Associates Inc.
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