If you’re running a convenience store (or a store of any kind) then you’ll want to maximise the sales you can make.This may seem obviously true, but what’s crucial is that it’s true in the long term rather than just the short.Let’s take a look at seven different factors that will make the difference for small convenience store owners.
Where am I?
One of the most important attributes of any convenience store is that they’re convenient.For the most part, this convenience will come in the form of location.While there might exist large supermarkets where one can find just about every item one could want, they’re often so far out of the way that going to them is too much hassle.When people just need one or two essentials, they’ll be perfectly happy that there’s a locally-available store on hand to help out.This means that it’s important to locate in place that’s fairly centrally located, but which isn’t so close to larger rival stores that the convenience is removed.
Am I a trusted brand?
Shoppers are far likelier to prefer a brand that they recognise and trust.The logo on the outside of the shop should communicate that the products and services inside are going to be of a certain standard.If you aren’t willing to franchise, then you’ll need to spend time building a reputation.Do this by being as reliable as possible – always have the essential supplies in stock, so that you’ll be the first name that your customers think of when they run out of milk.
Am I affordable?
Smaller, independent stores will need to charge more than their larger chain rivals in order to achieve a similar degree of prosperity.This places them at a relative disadvantage.You’ll need to price your wares so that you’re making a large enough profit per item, but which doesn’t scare off potential customers.
Am I driving sales?
Marketing is a big part not just of attracting new customers, but of ensuring that you’ve got a decent presence in the local area.Whilst digital marketing opportunities, such as those presented by Facebook, Twitter and Google, might seem the sole preserve of larger companies, the localism being promoted by many such networks means that even small companies will benefit from an online presence.Don’t allow yourself to be left behind; get ahead of the curve and make sure you’re out there on the internet.
Am I selling the right things?
When you’re running a convenience store, it’s vital that you sell the products that people actually want.At the top of the list should be everyday essentials like bread and milk.A lottery machine will also help to drive foot traffic into your store, which will help to drive sales of other items.Alcohol will serve the same purpose, as will cigarettes.If a smoker knows that they’re guaranteed to find the product they need when they run out, then they’re sure to return regularly.
Am I hiring the right people?
Unless you’re particularly committed to your calling, you’re likely to need help in the day-to-day running of the store.The quality of the help you hire will, however, have a considerable impact on the way that the store is ultimately run.Be sure to keep your staff on their toes via regular mystery shopper visits.You can sort these out through an outside agency like Tactical Solutions, who will be able to work in close collaboration with you to device a mystery shopper questionnaire that identifies areas of potential weakness and seeks to address them.
Am I running the store well?
Finally, it’s worth occasionally evaluating how well you yourself are performing in the running of the store.The best way to do this is through regular retail audits.Retail audits function in an analogous manner to financial audits – an impartial third party will come into the store and investigate how it is being run, and what could be done to make it run better.In order to do this job properly, of course, it will need to be done by someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in how well the store is running.That’s why internal audits are less effective, and carry less weight when it comes to future negotiations with interested buyers and merging partners.A dedicated firm like Tactical Solutions will offer the necessary retail auditing expertise as part of a suite of other field marketing services.