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Convert from less profitable fuel sales on the forecourt to more profitable inside sales.

Five ways to turn forecourt sales into in-store sales

Convenience stores sell more fuel than any other retail business type in the country. However, for many retailers, razor thin margins and shifting consumer needs means fuel is not the most profitable item sold in stores, despite being sold in high volumes. In fact, though in-store merchandise is sold in smaller quantities, it is more profitable than fuel, which is sold in higher volume with smaller profit margins. Here are 5 ways to convert forecourt fuel sales into more profitable inside sales:

  1. Maintain forecourt space

One of the easiest ways to encourage customers to enter the store is to ensure both the forecourt and the store are inviting and clean. Picking up trash and maintaining outdoor trash bins, ensuring windows are clean, and wiping down outside surfaces are all impactful measures to make the outside of a store more inviting. In inclement weather, such as snow, ensuring a well-shoveled and safe area is crucial as well. When a c-store looks inviting, it encourages customers who originally planned to spend only on gas to enter the store and buy other products as well.

  • Offer promotions

Sales have a substantial influence on consumers’ buying decisions. Customers are more likely to buy when they feel they’re getting a good deal, even if they would not have bought that item without the sale. Because in-store items, such as packaged snacks, bottled drinks, and prepared foods, have more profitable margins, offering promotions on these items means customers are more likely to purchase them.

Promotions can be advertised on physical signage within the store, on a customized store app, or on a modern point-of-sale system, such as Petrosoft’s SmartPOS. SmartPOS also offers unlimited promotional data storage, meaning sales are easy to activate, saving store owners time.

  • Leverage order-ahead

In several studies, consumers who make their purchases by ordering ahead of time, often using a store-branded app, purchase more items than customers who shop entirely in-store. Because convenience stores can offer just that, convenience, adding the possibility of ordering ahead to your store offerings is a great way to get more customers from the forecourt to in store. Fuel customers can make the choice to stop at a store with order ahead, rather than visiting a competitor, when they have the option to order non-fuel purchases ahead of time.

For small businesses, having a custom-made app can sound daunting, especially when large-chain competitors are known for their mobile apps. However, by contracting with a third-party company that transforms pre-made, white label apps into custom ones, smaller retailers can offer their customers a mobile application at a fraction of the cost of creating an entirely new one.

  • Carry destination products

When stores offer the kinds of products customers will make a special trip for, more customers will come to the store. Though some may only purchase their intended product, such as tobacco or lottery tickets, many others will purchase additional, higher-margin products as well. C-store customers purchases 2.6 items per trip, on average. Therefore, the greater quantity of customers entering the store, the greater chance they will purchase multiple items. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, nearly 70% of tobacco consumers make their purchases at a convenience store. When these customers stop to refuel, they’re more likely to enter the store and make a purchase if their desired items are in stock.

  • Offer hot and prepared foods

Did you know that one of the highest-margin categories for c-stores is hot and prepared food? Even if your store is not equipped with a full kitchen, offering certain prepared food options can really boost the bottom line. For example, a hot coffee station, where customers can pour their own coffee and customize it to their liking with cream and sugar, can be a profit-driving item at a store. Morning commuters looking to fuel up before the work day can do so at the forecourt and in the store, making their average purchase more profitable.

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