How C-Store Owners Can Optimize Business Operations and Increase Foot Traffic in 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to industries across the board, particularly in the food and beverage sectors, including convenience stores (c-stores). From government shutdowns to safety mandates, c-stores have been struggling to keep business running as usual. Now that recovery is underway; convenience stores are reevaluating how to improve their business operations in 2022 and solve ongoing difficulties such as staffing shortages and the need to increase foot traffic. Fortunately, the right point of sale (POS) technology can alleviate these pain points and help c-stores thrive.
Utilize Point of Sale Automation
C-stores have dealt with high employee turnover rates for years, and recruiting and retaining good workers is a top challenge. The pandemic amplified the issue, as people became reluctant to take jobs interacting with the public, thus increasing labor shortages. In addition, training new hires can become an expensive time sink, especially if they don’t stay with you for long.
The right convenience store POS can alleviate some of the stress of staffing shortages by automating many vital tasks:
- Inventory management. Built-in inventory functions allow your staff to receive inventory wirelessly via tablet, provide shelf verification, print shelf labels, and more.
- Labor management. Control one of your highest-cost areas, labor, with functions such as tracking employee clock-ins and clock-outs (with scheduled clock-in and clock-out times, including grace periods), viewing detailed timekeeping and payroll reports, and optimizing your scheduling to control costs.
- Kitchen management. Automate managing your To-Go kitchen with software built for quick-service restaurants.
- Task management. Available applications and features for task management include the ability to customize screens and order flow to streamline the ordering process; on-screen order panels that allow cashiers to switch between orders for easy adding of items and processing of payments; efficiency timers to report the speed of service at the counter or drive-thru, and automatic combo recognition to improve efficiency and accuracy while reducing voided transactions.
Bring in Beer and Wine
If you haven’t been selling beer and wine in your c-store, now is the time to do so. Including these products has considerable benefits to bringing in foot traffic. Beer, especially single cans, account for a significant number of visits to c-stores: 88% of customers in one survey came into a c-store to buy beer (and 38% came in for wine).
On average, selling beer in packs and singles will increase check-out sales. Singles make up 55% of all beer transactions in c-stores, and the profit margin can be as high as 30%. When you offer single beer purchase options, customers are more likely to impulse buy and add a can to their cart (or if they came in for the beer, they impulse buy other items). Such purchases increase the average basket cost by 15% to 56%.
To keep you from missing out on as much as $55 million in singles trips each year, your convenience store POS system should be able to handle alcohol as well as everyday business transactions. With Reflection POS from NCC, you’ll benefit from these liquor store integrations:
- Age verification. Ensure regulatory compliance by setting age restrictions on any price look-up (PLU) code or item and being able to scan drivers’ licenses.
- Integrated check-out and pricing systems. Easily set up mix-and-match or quantity pricing.
- Easy addition of alcohol inventory to your POS system. Take a PLU for alcohol and put inventory and prices into a spreadsheet to integrate with a POS database.
Build Better Customer Loyalty
The most common reasons customers choose a c-store are convenience, location, and price. However, another reason they are gaining significant traction is loyalty programs, which incentivizes shoppers to keep them coming back. By adding such a program, you’ll be giving customers what they want: 87% of consumers say they want loyalty programs, and 44% say they choose a convenience store based on the availability of a rewards program.
Grow your foot traffic by rewarding your customers for repeat purchases. The order history data you’ll collect will enable you to make more informed inventory decisions and create the kinds of personalized rewards and custom offers that keep shoppers eager to make return visits. (And returning customers are generally more profitable than new ones.) If you include beer purchases in your loyalty program, you’ll drive even higher sales conversions.
You should be able to launch and manage your loyalty program from your convenience store POS system. This implementation means no extra devices are required, eliminating integration headaches and making setup a breeze.
Find the Right Technology Partner
All of the strategies outlined here promise to bring more traffic into your c-store and keep operations straightforward and manageable. With technology such as NCC’s Reflection POS, you can implement all of these improvements quickly and efficiently from one robust convenience store POS. So if you’re ready to get started, contact us today — and also discover how working with a local value-added reseller (VAR) is advantageous to your business.