If you own, or have just opened, a convenience store, success is on your mind. While convenience stores aren’t facing the same failure rates as restaurants or retail stores, it’s still important to make sure your convenience store turns a profit and thrives. You don’t intend to go halfway, so without further ado, here are some tips for running a convenience store.
Keep Your Store Clean
Convenience stores have a reputation for being a little ratty. Break away from that expectation by sweeping away those dust bunnies. If you have a public bathroom, make sure the toilet, mirror, floor, and counter is clean. A nice smell wouldn’t hurt, either. Customers often judge a store by its bathroom. (Go figure.) Try to keep your store as clean and shining as possible.
Regularly Test New Products
As a convenience store owner, you know that the three wonders of your profession are Tobacco, Lottery, and Beverage. Since your store is small, any change to this inventory will likely be noticed by your regulars, and that in turn should spark their interest. Try unique new products, like flavored JUUL pods to keep your customers trying new things.
Capitalize the Checkout
Perhaps more than in any other business, convenience stores thrive on impulse buys. Don’t overwhelm your customers as they’re checking out, but do have a few carefully placed products, like candy, right by the checkout. See what candies, snacks, or other products your customers seem to buy the most, and keep them up front.
Depending on your area, convenience store crimes are common. You can take some precautions against crime, such as installing bars over the windows and maintaining security cameras. Even a body camera can help identify a robber after the fact. Oddly enough, according to studies, having two employees in the store vs one doesn’t alter the likelihood of a robbery, so not every security measure is effective. Many convenience stores never experience crime, however, so if you’re in a better area, you likely have nothing to worry about.
You never know when a swarm of teenagers on their way to a movie is going to stop in and clear out your candy. It never hurts to have some stock of any product in back and to keep a long line of beverages available in your cooler.
Pay Attention to Your Clientele
The average yearly salary of your customers will affect what you stock. If your store is located in an area with low socio-economics, you’ll want to keep prices low. A higher socio-economic area will buy at a higher price, but don’t make it so high they won’t come back. (Remember: convenience.) Likewise, if you’re located in a small-town gas station, you’d likely benefit from having some camo and hunting paraphernalia, whereas in a city, it’s a good idea to keep some touristy trinkets around.
These are only a few of the ways to run a successful convenience store! As you continue, you’ll master the art of successfully running your store and have an even longer list of tips for success. Good luck!