We all know the last few years have redefined everyone’s definition of “normal.” This has had a profound impact on convenience store customer expectations as they reevaluate their shopping and purchasing decisions.
How Customers Are Evolving
According to recent surveys, more than half of consumers are making purchasing decisions based on their values. Now, customers are buying from brands based on things like how employees are treated, their commitment to health and safety, and even the company’s own values. A large majority of consumers are more interested in supporting businesses that:
- Are seen as trustworthy.
- Prioritize customer and employee safety.
- Behave ethically.
- Communicate effectively.
- Display empathetic leadership.
How Customer Expectations Are Evolving
Evolving customer expectations also affect their loyalty to brands and businesses.
Loyalty Is Becoming Harder to Maintain
Due to supply chain issues, consumers are more likely to switch brands in order to find what they need. They’re also increasingly more likely to walk away from brands they’ve previously been loyal to if they discover that brand does not align with values they hold themselves. This doesn’t mean that your customers are not going to be loyal – it just means that you may have to work harder than before to maintain that loyalty. This also means it may be a good time to try to bring in new customers looking to take their loyalty elsewhere. Make sure your convenience store training includes how to provide excellent customer service.
Convenience Is Driving Loyalty
Added convenience has become a popular commodity for your customers. Touchless experiences – being able to shop in a store and check themselves out through a self-scan register or phone app – are becoming more commonplace and customers with health or safety concerns are more likely to appreciate this option. Also becoming more popular is the ability to place orders ahead for store pickup.
Customers Are Shopping Locally to Support Community
Now is a great time to be marketing your connections to your local community. Many customers are paying more attention to where they are shopping and are more interested in supporting local businesses. This doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the action if you’re part of a larger chain – do some research within your community and find ways you can offer support and gain customer loyalty.
Loyalty/Rewards Programs More Important Than Ever
Rewards programs have been around for years, but more and more customers are being swayed by how their shopping habits will ultimately benefit themselves. Times have been difficult, and many customers may be working with tighter budgets, so be sure your suggestive selling training includes how to promote your loyalty program and give them a good reason to keep coming back.
The convenience industry – like all other industries – has seen a lot of change the last few years. Now is a good time to sit down and evaluate your customer service strategy, and how you might allow it to evolve to accommodate the changes in customer expectations and loyalty. Change isn’t always a bad thing, and in this case it could help you provide even better customer service and build a stronger, more successful business.
Convenience Store Training
The last few years have been a bit of a roller coaster ride, but the right training prepares your employees for all the challenges they face on the job. Our convenience store training programs teach the skills your employees need to succeed.