The on-going success of your convenience store depends on a great many factors. It must be located in the right spot, it must have easy access and convenient parking so your customers can get in and out quickly, it must provide your customers with a clean and safe environment, it must provide them with efficient and friendly service and it must have the products and services that they want and need.
Of prime importance however, is that your store develops a reputation for always having the right selection, presentation, brand names, and value for the products that are frequently consumed or needed by your customers. These are the “traffic builders” and they are of critical importance in maintaining and growing your business.
Most consumers, particularly those that are busy and well-organized develop “habits” or “routines” designed to satisfy their needs while creating the minimum of stress and the best possible use of their time. As a result, they often shop at the same places, follow the same traffic routes and buy the same products over and over again.
Your role is to make sure that you are not only offering these traffic builders but also that you are always in-stock of the key brands and sizes so you can develop “regular” customers and make your store part of their routine.
Here are some of the key convenience traffic builders with their importance and their characteristics:
Cigarettes: For the 20% of Canadians that smoke, cigarettes are a nasty but very strong habit that must be continually satisfied. The majority of smokers buy their cigarettes each day, by the single pack, but they are sensitive to the price and they are very loyal to their particular brand and package size. If you always have their brand, at the right price, you have the opportunity to create a daily and loyal customer. (If they visit your store for cigarettes they will probably also purchase other convenience products.)
Coffee: Coffee is a product that tends to be part of a routine, and it is a product that is consumed more than once each and every day by many adult customers. As a result, it can be a terrific traffic builder, but brand name and consistent quality are important factors.
Newspapers: A great many adults are in the routine of reading their favorite daily or weekly newspaper to keep in touch with the events going on around them, and for those that don’t get it delivered to their home a convenience store is the logical place to buy it. Again, an important traffic builder!
Lottery: For many consumers purchasing lottery tickets is a regular routine they engage in more then once a week. Developing them as your customers can generate a lot of adult traffic.
Milk: Milk is a commodity that is used in many homes and it is a product that consumers realize they must buy fresh as then need it, often on the way home. As a result, selling large sizes at competitive prices for at-home consumption can be an important source of “going home” traffic.
When considering the importance of these “traffic building” products, remember that not only do they generate significant sales, but by regularly bringing consumers into your store they also generate sales of the other convenience products you sell.