Convenience & Gas - Four Tips From Top Chains to Get Ready For Peak Season

By Mary Dubrule, Marketing Specialist, on March 31, 2016

With summer around the corner, peak season for convenience and gas is nearing.

Every summer, we work with CSP Magazine to conduct a mystery shopping study across top brands in the convenience and gas industry. Our certified shoppers visit hundreds of chains and locations across the country to evaluate experience and operational execution and find the industry's top performers.

With summer being one of the most profitable times of the year, this also means more customers, increased revenue and the 2016 mystery shop just around the corner.

So, how are you upping your performance for this year’s peak season?

To help you get inspired, here’s a closer look at four of the winning strategies from last year.

1. Focus on exterior cleanliness to get people in the door


Your exterior location is your customer’s first impression. Ensuring that locations look inviting on the outside could be the difference between someone driving by to find a competitor, and them coming in and stopping for a coffee and sandwich. Quiktrip’s CEO Cadieux explains, “You gotta think, ‘If it looks this bad on the outside, imagine what it looks like on the inside.’”

Understanding how different areas of the store impact customer experience to drive customer satisfaction is what keeps the chain running so smoothly. In order to get people inside and purchase other products and services, customers need to like what they see on the outside.

If you can’t get people in the door, nothing else you do matters.

2. Roll out new initiatives

Taking on new initiatives to differentiate from competitors and improve value is what helped last year’s study’s top performing chains. In order to drive revenue, they experiment in different fields of service.

Both of last year’s top chains, Quiktrip and Kwik Trip, are consistently driving new initiatives to increase their revenue. Whether it’s Quiktrip’s foodservice initiative or Kwik Trip entering the fresh meat program, both prove themselves by driving the value and quality of their products.

In order to remain successful and competitive in an industry with a lot of competition, they’re constantly looking for more ways to increase revenue and stand out from competitors.

3. Deliver consistent reliable experiences

To give consistent reliable experiences, all of Quiktrip’s stores have the exact same layout.

Customers know that when they walk into any Quiktrip no matter where they are, they can find whatever they need right away. The same items are always in the same spot and this makes the entire process very easy and user-friendly.  

Customers choosing between brands are more inclined to choose an experience they’re familiar with and can rely on. When they come to expect this consistency, they’re more likely to be loyal and continue to choose the same brand.

4. Empower your employees

Both of last year’s top chains prioritize their employees above all else. Kwik Trip’s CEO Don Zietlow explains that you can have the best of everything but if your people don’t execute, you’ll fail.

They believe the secret is hiring for attitude and values, as those are not things that can be trained. Instead, find people who already have the right mindset and character for your business.

His strategy for good results is keeping employees happy so they keep customers happy.

Conclusion

With the busiest time of year fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how you can improve your chain’s performance.

While companies are undoubtedly gearing up for this year’s mystery shopping study, use these strategies to get inspiration for how your business can excel this year.

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