So simple – so profitable – so what’s stopping you!
Unless you run an above average operation, you might just experience a sudden urge to stop reading, part way thru this article. I’m going to put the results toward the top to help, suppress that urge!More…
Our best store has a very well known, major price cutter located within a few hundred feet of it – was there when we built. Despite this and despite on average spotting them a 4-cent per gallon pricing edge, we continue to post fantastic growth numbers both inside and out.
Let me share: the store was opened in 2000, but comparisons are based against 2002, so as to be fair. I’ll also use gallons only to avoid any “inflation” arguments, but inside sales growth is also impressive.
2003 sales were up 3.9% vs. 02
2004 sales were up 10.5% vs. 02
2005 sales were up 20.3% vs. 02
2006 sales were up 32.2% vs. 02
2007 sales are up 46.4% YTD vs. 02
One more bit of fairness would be to tell you the entire geographic area has shown good growth, including two new c-store competitors. We have however, knowledge of three modern stores in the same general area that have lost volume over much of the same time period.
This than, begs the question: “WHAT’S THE BIG DIFFERENCE MAKER?”
The difference makers are: “CLEAN & FRIENDLY!” (not talking ’bout pretty Clean & often Friendly)
Yeah more than that goes into the total equation, but these clearly are the difference makers. In my more than 30 years in the business, I’ve become convinced, in both heart and mind that customers are absolutely willing to over look price if you give them a great shopping experience – indeed, the numbers back up the claim.
While Clean and Friendly are quite achievable, we all know they don’t just happen. WHY? Because, the majority of operators don’t really believe that Clean and Friendly translates to increased business! We know full well that dropping the price of Gasoline or Cigarettes is going to drive both Customer count and Sales. Indeed, many of us “Invest” in this type marketing – we see a direct “cause and effect” correlation that is not as readily seen with “Clean and Friendly.”
I admit that it’s much easier to implement this theory on a “New to Industry” store, but we can’t afford to ignore the investments that helped us pay the bills thus far.
In the near future, we’ll take on both “Clean” and “Friendly” – in the meantime, Try viewing your Operation thru the eyes of a first time Customer and your on your way!
Jim Callahan, Partner
Convenience Store Solutions