Your Convenience Store
4 Killer Tactics to Grow Customer Loyalty for Your Convenience Store.
Post-Covid, the entire US has come under quarantine orders. Even as we peaked and healed from a spiking rise in infections, US shoppers still shun human contact.
You have obviously noticed, your Convenience Store customers have changed their spending habits, as unemployment has taken a gripping hold on disposable incomes.
Shoppers who used to love your top brands, now go for private labels. Even diners who used to eat out at restaurants, and frequently go clubbing, now prefer to buy food and liquor items from Convenience Stores to cook, eat and drink at home in isolation.
Right now, your Convenience Store may be scrambling to adapt. So how do you keep your Convenience Store making profits? Even growing the profits in these post-Covid-19 times?
Yes, it’s agreed you certainly need to recognize that the global response to the novel Covid-19 virus will have a significant impact on your Convenience Store. You also need to understand the situation is changing daily. And you need to prepare that you will have little time to respond.
Still, this doesn’t help you in knowing exactly what to do to keep or increase, your Convenience Store profits in these Covid-19 times.
It’s not surprising that your best bet lies in keeping your Convenience Store customers loyal, which in turn will result in them bringing even more customers to your store, as a happy customer always tags along other customers.
Now let’s talk about four killer ways you can keep customers loyal to your Convenience Store. Here are the four ways you can build and keep customer loyalty:
1. Make it easy for customers to provide feedback.
You might already have implemented a survey system at your Convenience Store. Perhaps the process is manual. Your shoppers have to complete a Service Rating on the till slip, and pass it back to the cashier.
This kind of survey system is however, outdated and easy to lose track of. The receipt can easily be trashed and lost. It’s also cumbersome to go through thousands of manual receipts each day, trying to make a picture of what your customers think about your Convenience Store service quality.
If that’s what you do now, your customers obviously know you haven’t been too successful gathering this invaluable customer feedback. How do they know that? They easily see your Convenience Store service quality either not improving, or getting worse.
Sadly, that’s also how you may lose many loyal shoppers. So how do you correct your shopper survey system?
You need to use loyalty programs that run on mobile apps. Through these loyalty programs, there is an opportunity for your Convenience Store to improve your survey response rates and gather a more complete picture of your customer’s experience. This way, you can enhance your service quality on time, and boost your customer loyalty.
If you use the right survey platform, neatly integrated into their mobile app, your customers are provided with an easy and efficient way to give their feedback. The other benefit you get from this mobile based survey method, is your feedback can be incentivized with additional offers and coupons directly in the app, to thank your customers for their time.
If you make it easy for your customers to provide their feedback, you will receive more of it. Your shoppers can easily tell that your Convenience Store respects their time and opinions, since they will quickly notice improvements in service quality.
This builds trust, increases your customer retention rates, and creates opportunities for your customers to spend more in your shop, growing your sales, and making your Convenience Store even more profitable, in these Covid-19 times.
2. Listen to your non-customers.
In addition to the customer surveys, you can also keep a pulse on the barriers that are preventing new customers from frequenting your Convenience Store. This is just as important as making sure your current customers stay happy.
You need to add online review sites and social media, as one way to monitor what people are saying about your business. With advanced analytics tools like text and sentiment analysis, your Convenient Store can identify emerging trends and key pieces of information instantly, and take action to create more personalized store offerings and improve the customer experience.
3. Empower employees.
Studies have shown that Convenience Stores that empower staff, can actually score 50% more customer loyalty.
For example, RaceTrac, a Convenience Store that operates more than 600 stores in 12 southern states, focuses on building great customer experiences and loyalty, through employees.
RaceTrac’s staff are encouraged to treat customers like family, by being honest and respectful. Their people-first attitude has created a culture of employees who are motivated to succeed and stay committed to their team.
RaceTrac management then goes onto listen and attentively gather feedback from staff on a regular basis, to understand what the shoppers need, and to support the staff in enhancements that will enable the staff to deliver this value back to the shoppers.
RaceTrac noted that where staff learnt from liaising with shoppers, that cleaning the restrooms every hour meant a direct improvement in a specific KPI, such as higher shopper satisfaction or higher average transaction size, supplying the staff with needed resources would actually result in instant improvement in sales, growth profits and higher customer loyalty.
4. Deliver a consistent experience.
“If a customer enters planning to purchase food and the restroom is dirty or smells, they’re less likely to buy food than if the restroom is clean and smells good.” – Jenn Matthews of Rutter’s, winner of this year’s CSP Magazine and InTouch Insight mystery shopping study
Thus Rutter’s, the York, Pa.-based 69-store Convenience Store, has created loyalty through the consistency of their impeccably clean retail environment. In this way, they have even been able to add $20 short ribs to their menu because customers trust them to serve a high-quality product.
So when your Convenience Store draws customers through loyalty to your consistency in service quality, then you would not want the standard to drop at any time, ever.
Keeping your quality standards consistent, can definitely help you grow your Convenience Store profits.
A customer chooses a certain Convenience Store over another when they know they can trust the quality of the experience they receive. When your customer trusts in the consistency of the experience you deliver, they become loyal.
To keep your sales and profits growing in these Covid-19 times, you need to differentiate your Convenience Store in a variety of ways; through one-stop-shop experiences, commitment to their employees, and loyalty programs.
So what makes a consumer stop at your Convenience Store rather than continuing on a couple of extra miles to a competitor? It will be when you:
- Make it easy for customers to provide feedback
- Listen to your non-customers
- Empower employees
- Deliver a consistent experience
You might find need for cash to: buy more stocks, staff uniforms, pay for promotions, pay for staff training, and buy Covid-19 staff safety gear, buy equipment to enable customer in-store social distancing, buy detergents and cleaning materials for Covid-19 sanitation for your Convenience Store and more.
All these are resources and tools you need to be able to effectively implement the four killer tactics to grow customer loyalty for your Convenience Store, during these Covid-19 times.
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