Top 10 Merchandising Mistakes for Convenience Stores
Recent convenience store industry reports suggest that while fuel sales are strong, they may not always stay that way. As vehicles become more fuel efficient, customer demand for fuel may decrease. That makes in-store sales and merchandising efforts more important than ever. Today’s customers expect efficiency, value, and convenience. How you merchandise your products directly impacts your ability to exceed those customer expectations. Avoid these top 10 merchandising mistakes.
- Mismanaging first impressions. Effective merchandising starts with how customers perceive your business. Make sure your exterior and interior store care communicates a message to customers that your products are worth buying.
- Misusing (or not using) displays at the fuel pump. Convenience stores are in a unique position to reach a captive audience of customers who are fueling up their cars. Update and maintain promotional areas of your fuel island to drive in-store sales and merchandise appealing products.
- Falling short on exterior signage. Your windows are, literally and figuratively, a view inside your store. Make sure window promotions and signage are current and inviting.
- Not following planograms. Your category management team goes to great lengths to map out your store with detailed planograms. The proper implementation of your planograms will make or break your merchandising efforts.
- Unclean or disorganized displays and self-serve areas. Customers aren’t going to want to browse for additional in-store items if they encounter disorganized store shelves or a litter-cluttered beverage fountain Monitor your store constantly for cleanliness and order.
- Doing what you’ve always done. Be creative with your in-store merchandising and go beyond traditional displays. Consider the view of your customer when they first walk in the door and make sure you’re capturing their attention wherever their eyes may go.
- Ignoring your specific customers’ needs. To merchandise effectively, you must find out what your customers want on a few different levels. First, explore national trends in product offerings. Then, compare those trends to the needs of customers in your neighborhood. You might find a big gap that your merchandising efforts must address.
- Making customers search for what they need. You’re a convenience store, so keep high-demand items easy to find. Use cross-merchandising to increase add-on sales.
- Under-utilizing point-of-sale opportunities. Counter displays and other point-of-sale promotions cater to the impulse shopper. For them to work, they must be value-oriented and prominently displayed.
- Ineffective convenience store training. When you tell employees to “face the shelves,” do they know what to do? You can’t expect your employees – especially employees new to the industry – to instinctively know how to merchandise in a convenience store. Start with industry-specific convenience store training online, and follow it up with ongoing on-the-job training and mentoring.
Merchandising Training for Convenience Stores
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