As profit margins on the sale of gasoline continue to shrink, fuel retailers need to identify other opportunities to exploit new and existing revenue sources. Given the extremely competitive retail environment (which will become even more so if fuel demand declines as expected), smart business owners are inventing new ways to gain an edge over their competitors by focussing on increasing profits in their non-fuel categories like food, beverages, and other popular merchandise.
An unwavering commitment to competitive pricing is essential to consistently attracting high volume. However, since profit margins are razor-thin, retail success can’t depend on this alone. Consider competitive pricing the foundation to your business and focus on these three classic retail categories to build profit:
Retail experience. Maintaining an attractive, clean and well-lit storefront is one of the easiest ways to increase volume. Is the surrounding landscape tidy and maintained? What is your merchandise selection like? Are products merchandised attractively – free of dust and pulled toward the front of the shelf? Demonstrating pride in your business attracts customers who see it as a promise of better products and superior service.
Customer restrooms. This is actually a bigger draw for customers than you might realize. Clean restrooms will attract repeat customers looking for reliable facilities. Are your restrooms well-lit and family-friendly (is there a baby changing station)? Consider posting signs in restrooms that indicate how often washrooms are cleaned and supplies restocked. Showing that you care about your customers’ comfort and well-being will attract repeat business.
Promotional activities. Creating local marketing activities or participating in national promotions like free beverages with a tank fill-up or buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) promotions attract more sales through brand recognition and product convenience. You can also leverage your existing relationships with vendors and suppliers to subsidize these programs. Customers attracted by marketing activities featuring national brands tend to purchase more than just the products being promoted.
These profit-building categories are common to many retail business strategies, but they are especially helpful way to increase overall sales for fuel retailers. Partnering with a fuel distributor who is also a retail operator offers you the benefit of their business experience and industry expertise – at every visit.