Marketing, put quite simply, is what you do to generate sales. Every industry, and every business within an industry, has its own marketing strategy based on its unique customer makeup. As a convenience store manager, you may not control every element of your store’s marketing strategy, but you are an integral component of its success. Start by understanding these basic marketing concepts.
Gaining New Customers Vs. Creating Repeat Traffic
You already know the difference between new customers and repeat customers, but have you given much thought to how you market to each of these groups? You should. Basic marketing research suggests that it costs up to five times more to gain a new customer than to retain a customer you already have. From a convenience store manager’s perspective, this is good news. Strategies that build customer loyalty are often more within your control than those that help you gain new customers.
External Vs. Internal Marketing
External marketing is what you do to get customers to choose your store. Externally, this might include advertised loyalty programs, EDLP products, co-branding efforts, and product specials. Internal marketing is what you do to suggestively sell to the customers who walk in your door or pull up to your pump. This includes optimizing non-fuel purchases, merchandising efforts, planogram implementation, and store care.
Traditional Vs. Digital Marketing
Traditional marketing includes things like newspaper ads, TV commercials, and roadside billboards. These marketing strategies offer one-way communication from your business to new customers. Digital marketing is everything you do electronically to reach out to customers, such as through your website, a loyalty app, social media, and email. Many digital marketing strategies give you more of an opportunity to connect with customers and impact repeat visits.
Over-promising Vs. Over-delivering
The risk of over-promising on a promotion is a marketing concept that many managers, especially new convenience store managers, fail to grasp. This happens when you launch a promotion and then are not prepared for the response it receives. A shiny new loyalty program, for example, won’t mean a thing if your employees don’t know how to recommend it and sign people up. Convenience store training is key to ensuring you exceed customer expectations by over-delivering on a promotion, instead of disappointing them by advertising promises your staff can’t keep.
Convenience Store Training to Support Your Basic Marketing Efforts
Whatever you do through your basic marketing efforts to get customers to visit your convenience store, be sure you’re leveraging those visits through suggestive selling. When employees recommend items that are new to the store, on sale, or complement a customer’s purchase, everyone wins. The store adds to its bottom line, and customers leave the store feeling appreciated and valued. Employees may be hesitant to suggestively sell, but this apprehension can be overcome with the right training. Our Basics of Suggestive Selling online training module uses realistic scenarios and sample dialogue to teach convenience store employees easy methods to improve the customer experience through add-on sales.