Top 27 Convenience Store Marketing Tips from the Pros

Cody Cromwell
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Use Point-of-Sale Software

Convenience stores are a sales channel in their own right. That’s why it’s crucial that convenience stores know how to use point-of-sale software to seamlessly integrate with sales channels and make selling margin-boosting merchandise easier than ever before.

Point-of-sale software includes inventory management systems that allow you to easily keep inventory on hand. It also includes point-of-sale inventory systems that allow you to integrate your POS into sales channels, such as supermarket payment terminals. Smart stores that use point-of-sale software can also tap into their point-of-sale systems to keep inventory on hand and then sell popular items at premium prices, eliminating the need to stock items that will be out of stock until the next delivery. For example, if you’re selling beer at an area convenience store, the store can purchase the beer in quantity ahead of time and use their point-of-sale to sell the items that can be sold quickly.

Another handy feature of point-of-sale software is inventory control tools controlled through it. Many software programs will allow you to monitor sources of restocking errors (such as items left in the wrong aisle without being moved in), and then use the program’s built-in tools to copy the items to inventory management software. That way, they can be tracked to make sure your inventory is accurate and complete.

Offer a Wider Variety of Products

Convenience stores play a major role in the daily lives of our customers whether they’re on-the-go workers, a little family time or the traveler. The sales volume and popularity of convenience store products is why it’s important for convenience stores to offer a wide variety of products. According to research conducted by the Global Vision Group, almost 3 out of 4 shoppers at convenience stores visit every week. Their confidence in using the store extends to almost 86% of shoppers who believe there’s a wider assortment of items at a convenience store than in a grocery store. These shopping habits have led to the wide variety of products available per store as well as the hyper-growth in convenience store brands. Due to the popularity of convenience store products, convenience stores should consider testing new products that will result in a better shopping experience for their customers. To assist convenience stores in successful product testing, we’ve put together a list of the top 27 marketing tactics that the pros use to grow their businesses.

According to QSR Weekly, “80% of retailers that were committing to tests reported the tests resulted in greater basket size as well as higher levels of category spend and customer satisfaction.”

The key takeaway from this study is that convenience stores should implement a variety of tests to discover the products and marketing that will create success.

Get Return Customers with Value Pricing and Wide Selection

Says MCC Convenience Store Marketing Specialist, Anthony Zantar.

Everybody needs food, gas, or cigarettes at some point.

But for many people, convenience stores are their destination for just about everything. Convenience store customers expect high quality and value for every dollar they spend, and they have many choices when it comes to where they go.

If you tune into the different convenience stores in your area, you’ll notice a variety of shopping habits among your regulars. However, there’s one common thread that we’ve noticed among convenience store shoppers worldwide – gasoline, food, and beer are the three most frequently purchased products among convenience store consumers.

To stay relevant to a diverse customer base, convenience stores must offer high quality and value for every dollar they spend.

Build Your Brand

A brand is all about trust. And Walmart has managed to build trust among consumers no matter how low of a price they're competing against.

Find ways to build your brand without breaking the bank. For example, you could meet your customers in the parking lot and chat with them. This will show them that they can trust you. You could even ask them if you could take their store’s name and put it on your van. This will make it seem like the store is endorsing you and possibly do more business with your brand.

Make Sure Your Store Shows up in Local Search Results

In the days of yore (pre-Google), when a consumer went looking for an item, he or she would have to take a trip to the brick and mortar store to find it. But today, consumers find what they want on the web at the click of a button on their computer or mobile device.

Your store’s online presence is now a critical piece of your overall strategy but remember, visibility in local search results brings traffic that hopefully leads to sales. You can’t afford to be left out.

The easiest way to ensure your business appears in local search results is to utilize Google’s first-page placement optimization. The most important factor in local search is Google’s ability to pick out the best local listing for each of its searchers’ queries. This happens by assessing several factors:

  • User behavior (location of query, searcher demographic, information in the query)
  • Geo-location of the query, itself (is it in Boston or New York City, or a suburb?)
  • How many times the query has been searched in your local area

Offer Food Truck Staples in Your Store

If you’re planning on opening up a small food truck, it’s important to take advantage of your store’s reputation and offer popular menu items on your truck. By offering food truck staples to your customers in-store, you’ll be able to appeal to their appetites even if they aren’t thinking of buying from your food truck. Every time someone goes into your store to grab a quick snack, your store will benefit not only just from this person’s patronage directly, but also from the fact that they’ve likely introduced their family and friends to your store.

Change Your Signs

When you’re out of space to put your menu items, change them slightly. Mention the price, but put the item in a bigger font. The next time I was at a gas station, I noticed a sign advertising cheap gas, but I know that they also have some pricey items on the gas station’s menu so I wasn’t sure if they were just trying to sell off-gas items or gas as well … better safe than sorry, right? I made sure to call their telephone number and ask.

Run your Own Product Tale on Pinterest

It’s a fun way to reach your audience through their social networks in a cost effective manner and get a free extra product. Stock this item at your store and run your own tale.

Go on ~ Search Pin pitch, Gallery or search with a your own Pinterest URL. You can change the position to your logo and fonts are easily editable.

Go to Pinterest to your personal page you own.

Click on Pin pitch, Gallery or search with a your own Pinterest URL.

Then open your footer menu from the lower right. Click Edit logo, fonts and background.

You can change your logo and make them easily editable. You can change the position to your logo and fonts are easily editable. Now you are ready to post. Share your product tale on Pinterest.

This story has some of the essential ingredients for a hugely successful social media campaign. It is clear that it’s on Pinterest for a reason: that reason is to get people talking! Conceivably, these pinnable stories could go viral on their own. The Tip-Toe Pint’s story is using a fun and quaint backdrop with a great historical hook. Show where the idea for the product originated. Show where the product comes from. And show how the product works.

Invite Your Customers to Review Your Business

Interact with Your Community on Instagram

Keep in touch with your followers on the go. Instagram has become one of the foremost social media outlets for sharing photographs, and it’s no wonder that convenience stores are aware of this. Use Instagram to interact with your community and keep them excited about your services often. Take a picture of one of you employees making an outstanding cup of coffee, a picture of a delicious donut, a picture of a new art creation, etc. Interactively engage your community with an intriguing image. Make it engaging for the audience, and they will stay engaged with your story long into the future.

Put Your Business’s Instagram on the Map

Become known for your Instagram account. Your followers will be itching to follow you for great content. If your mission is to bring interest to your brand, mashing up Instagram with Google Maps can be a good way to accomplish that. Find a map with your nearby stores, and see where they are. Include the nearest hospitals, schools, police stations, etc. This will increase the privacy of your photos by giving less information about your store’s location.

Send Postcards to Advertise Your Store

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Postcards are an inexpensive way to advertise your store. Have your logo printed on the back of the cards.

If you like, you can use a coupon to offer a customer a discount on their purchase, good for one day only.

Make sure to place the cards in highly visible places at your store, and make sure you return them to the location you originally found them.

If you’re in the planning stages, you can send out postcards for a limited number of days. If you know when you’re launching your store, send postcards out about a month before the date you’re opening, and keep them at eye level.

Create Custom Short Links for Your Offline Marketing Materials

Email is considered to be one of the most important marketing channels for a merchant, simply due to its ability to drive consistent sales. It’s definitely a channel worth paying attention to.

Being proactive and including online links to your emails, offers, social media and web pages in your offline materials and promo campaigns are a great way to integrate your offline and online marketing like a pro. You’ll be amazed at how many people will add a custom URL to their mail and remember the link when it’s passed on to them.

This is great for your offline promotions and services as well, since it means your brand will be in front of people when they come online searching for information about your services.

Update Your Customers with Offerings via Text Messaging

Text messaging is an excellent way to keep in touch with your customers. After all, when you are on the go, your customers are, too. Most people have a smartphone, and when you send a push notification to their phone with a great deal to entice them to come in, they are more likely to respond. If you are interested in using text messaging to drive more foot traffic and increase sales, these 27 marketing tips from the pros will help you get started.

Sending Push Notifications

Depending on your device, you can create a push notification in one of two ways – from Google Play on your mobile device or on your computer with our marketing automation software. To get started, choose the method that is most convenient for you. Once you’ve chosen your method, insert your message recipient’s contact information and a link to a promotion or coupon.

Provide Educational Information

Educational content is a great way to encourage people to use your service. Use tips and tricks to help people learn how to do things your way. If you’ve found statistics online, for example, share them in your push notification with a discount or an easy way to download the information.

Use Your TV as a Marketing Tool Inside Your Store

If most people grew up with television as their constant companion, most will think nothing of having their TV on all day. The problem is many people grow up believing they can only watch television outside of the home.

What if you could turn this on its head and advertise your store from inside the comfort of your customer’s home. You could sell them on a box-set, a DVD or Blu-ray collection while they sit on the sofa and have their favourite film playing in the background.

This is exactly what one convenience store in the UK has done. Yes, they have actually made the store itself their television. Of course, it’s not a set-top box, but an actual TV! You can think of it as a shop window that you can walk through or you can think of it as an actual television in the store. Doing so has certainly been a winner for their business.

Whether your business is a small corner store or a large supermarket, you can use the same templates to turn your store window into a giant TV screen.

Set Benchmarks and Target Goals for Your Marketing Campaign

Showcase Specials and Sales With Digital Signage

If you’re in the business of serving and satisfying consumers, you wouldn’t leave out digital signage, would you? Digital signage is a great way to convey useful information to your customers in an entertaining manner. A digital sign can act as a reminder of the day’s specials and help potential shoppers get the most value out of their visit.

Depending on the aspect of the business you’re working with, digital signs can help to increase sales. Consider how decreasing inventory costs will be reflected on the bottom line of your business. If you have a huge inventory and long lead times, your parent store may not be the right location for you. Take a look at how digital signage can impact your costs.

Additionally, digital signage is a great way to build brand exposure and branding for your company. An effective way to promote your brand, digital signage can be embedded with a custom URL address that helps drive more traffic to your website.

With digital signage, you’ll also have the ability to feature your products and brand in an entertaining way. Using infographics, transparency displays, or statistics, digital signage can make your products stand out from the competitors.

Invite Your Loyal Customers to Be Part of Your Marketing Campaign on Social Media

When it comes to running an efficient marketing campaign, it’s important to be able to plan ahead. If you’re looking for ways to increase your brand’s exposure without spending a lot of money, it’s important to involve your loyal customers in the process.

In the past, your brand’s marketing relied on guesswork to attract a good number of potential customers. Now that you’ve already created a loyal base, it’s important to keep it happy by incorporating them into your marketing campaigns on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

A great way to do this is by inviting your followers on Twitter to take part in a brand survey. Here’s how you can create a survey and invite your followers to take part:

Step 1: Create a new Twitter poll.

Use a Mobile App for Your Loyalty Program

A mobile app is one of the best tactics for starting a customer loyalty program. If you have the bandwidth to design your own app, you have the most freedom. But if you don’t have experience in creating apps, there are plenty of resources that can proceed on your behalf. You can get an app for free if you use a free app maker like CodeCanyon, or you can purchase the app from a money-saving developer’s site.

If your convenience store has multiple locations, you can have the same loyalty program in all of your locations using one mobile app. If this sounds like a good idea to you, there are some app makers that allow you to use a single app for multiple stores. This is a great way to save on having to buy multiple apps.

Once you got your mobile app with a loyalty program, all you have to do is create a website and a backend login to track the loyalty points accrued in the app. Tracking the points in your web app will be much easier than trying to maintain a spreadsheet. And the best part is that once you set up your app, you can spend your time focusing on more important matters like growing and running your business.

Take Advantage of Free Marketing with Facebook Marketplace

While it may seem obvious (but still worth mentioning), you certainly don’t have to have a current social media presence in order to sell something on Facebook Marketplace. All you need is to have a photo of the item you’re selling and a few Facebook profiles to promote it. After that, Facebook does the rest for you.

After you create a Facebook Marketplace listing, it’ll appear on dozens of Facebook timeline pages without you even asking. This exposes your product to a very large audience, which puts your product in front of the right people.

Most of these people probably couldn’t afford the item you’re selling, but they’re still interested in buying it. In fact, Facebook Marketplace’s traffic is so high that many people are willing to bid on something they can’t afford.

Facebook also provides helpful tools to help you promote your product. You can create a banner ad to promote your product on your own timeline, or you can take advantage of a customizable promotion list.

Facebook also offers other free marketing tools such as Facebook Ads, Twitter Promoted Tweets, and Pinterest Promoted Pins, but Facebook Marketplace is by far the most cost effective way to get your product out in front of potential customers.

Claim Your Google My Business Listing

If you’re not sure if you’re listed in Google My Business, an easy way to find out is to type the business name, address, city, state into Google. If you don’t have a listing under the local business listings, you need to claim your business listing. Once you claim your business, you’re ready to capitalize on the additional Google listings to help your business grow.

Request Pay per Click Ads

If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll likely have a limited budget for Pay Per Click advertising. So if you are getting a low volume of foot traffic, PPC advertising may not be the best choice for you. Instead, you may want to invest in pay per call advertising.

At these low price points, it’s still easy to advertise 24 hours a day, all year long. Research shows that pay per call ads will draw in more customers. The Google Adwords pay per call click rate is nearly double, in fact, compared to its price-per-click (PPC) ads.

Hire an Expert to Improve Your Digital Marketing

Google is the most widely used search engine in the world, and it is also the most important tool that marketing experts use to grow businesses. Marketing at the top of Google is vital, and this requires a lot of time and effort. With the right tools and guidance, marketers can increase their conversion rate and expand their market reach. If your business is currently struggling to find the time and expertise needed to take advantage of all the available marketing options online, then you need a Google marketing service provider. Hire a Google marketing service provider to manage your Google AdWords campaign and to optimize your website for organic search. The most successful marketers find the time to optimize their websites with marketing strategies specific to their audience. Demand generation and email marketing programs are essential to build a loyal and long-lasting base of customers. Top marketers spend time thinking about their customers instead of focusing on their products. Marketing on Google AdWords will help your business achieve steady growth and better margins. If your business is struggling to make any money and you find the return on your investment of marketing spend to be low, then it may be time to reconsider your business strategy.

Customize Your Own Loyalty Program

If you want your customers to remember to visit your store, build a great loyalty program and offer rewards for their loyalty. If you want them to become your most loyal and frequent customers, offer them incentives to make the extra trip.

Many people come to conclusions as a result of their experience. By using those same conclusions for special offers, it may be easy to bring in new crowds.

A new customer who has never shopped in your store before might be attracted to a customer who has an incentive for shopping early.

A new customer who sees a customer of his or her own walk out with an incentive might be encouraged to make the trip as well.

If the incentive is appealing enough, the customer may be more than happy to find the items they need in one trip instead of making multiple shopping trips.

Another way to build loyalty is to recognize the store’s most loyal shoppers, such as monthly return, weekly, or even daily frequent customers and thank them for their patronage with discounts, gifts or loyalty plaques.

If something is missing from your store, your customers will find it.

If you can identify a recurring problem or wish that you had something, your customers will find it.

If you offer something of interest, your customers will find it.

Create Store Signage that Works for You

Whether you’re opening a new store or upgrading your existing one, it’s important to communicate with customers, employees, and other stakeholders exactly what it is you have in store for them. Marketing signage can tell them a little bit more about what’s ahead of them, including your company’s specific strategy, culture, and unique offerings.

In today’s market, you must communicate your services and special offers with great care, because what your customers see along the way tells them a lot about your store.

You may think your signage is visually stunning and effective. But even the best-looking signage can be a source of frustration, and may make customers feel as if they’re being constantly bombarded with messages. This can be particularly true for customers who are at a store for the first time or without any previous knowledge about it.

Signage can be a focal point for customer awareness, but instead of welcoming them to your business, it can feel like a sales pitch. Because many businesses use signage that is more like a billboard than a welcoming booth for customers, it may not be the best tool for converting walk-ins into customers.

Know Your Different Kinds of Convenience Store Shoppers

Almost every gas station and convenience store has a kiosk that sells lottery tickets. I’ve picked out seven marketing secrets that will help make your kiosk a money maker.

Leverage Your Branded Foodservice Partnership

Look at your existing locations as potential opportunities to partner with a wide array of foodservice providers. Utilizing your branding and advertising, you may be able to get the best of both worlds by asking your customers directly to inquire about your branded foodservice partnership offerings. With several of your branded items, like towels and tablecloths, also known as the White Whale, the more your customers order, the more likely they will be to inquire about a partnership.

Internally, your employees often champion the cause for a partnership with your customers prior to the beginning of the business day. Then, when the customer comes to pay at the register, they will often have their own point-of-sale signage or signs on display to tell their customers about their own branded facilities. If you’re not already leveraging your partnerships to your customers, I’d suggest doing so, especially for your branded foodservice partnership offerings.

Set Up Eye-catching Displays Outside Your Store

When it's crowded, convenience stores have to stand out from all the other stores trying to attract customers. To do that, they need to get outside of the building and get people to notice their signs. These signs should include your store hours and prices, and if you have a logo, that would help people identify your store. They should also include any specials that are going on. Your sign should be visible during business hours, since most convenient stores are open during the day.

Keep It Clean

Convenience stores need to be clean and presentable from the inside too. The entire store needs to be well-stocked and ready for customers to come in and buy products. Cleanliness is just as important here as it is on the outside.

Have a Helpful Manager Ready to Go

It's crucial to have a staff member in the store who can handle customers' questions and needs, especially when it comes to payment, refunds, and returns. The layouts for convenience stores can get confusing; having a store manager can be very helpful for customers who are unfamiliar with your store.

Beware of Refunds

Returning items is a task for the manager or cashier. Returns can be hard to do if your store is too small. However, it's essential to have a policy that gives customers the money they paid back.

Offer Breakfast

To Customers Picking up their favorite morning meal has proven itself to be a great idea. So much so that there are plenty of companies that are willing to take off the ordinary and give the consumer exactly what they want when they arrive at the store. Choosing the Breakfast Stop Location The stores whom customers usually shop at are Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, Kuchino, and Yoders.

What this means is that the store in the most common locations spread across shopping centers and strip malls. These places are frequented by shoppers that are willing to spend more on the item they would like to buy. This means it is an ideal place to put up a breakfast shop.

Plus, these shopping centers are always well-lit and well-maintained. Customer Service If you are a company wishing to open a store in these locations, you should make a strong effort in making sure that customers are happy with your services. And we are talking about services that can surely draw customers in.

Some of these activities include: – Hand breading the food. – You can offer free refills. – Give customers discounts if they leave a small deposit. – You can have coupons in the store. For example, if they say that they need a certain size, give them a discount for a plate larger than necessary. These are great ways to put customers in a great mood every time.

Draw Fuel Customers Into Your Store

Over to You

Make Convenience Store Marketing Successful

Very often, you will hear the statement, “the customer is always right.” While this may be true in many situations, you’ll find there are a few places where this budget-friendly approach can backfire.

The first place to look when it comes to the customer not being right is convenience stores. Convenience stores are not just about the items and services the store sells. Convenience stores are also about the customers.

After all, it takes a lot to make people visit a convenience store… so you can expect your store to be doing everything they can to win over those customers. Whether it’s with great promotions, bargain prices, or friendly operations, here are 27 ideas for making your convenience store consumer-friendly.

Provide Good Accessibility

Since convenience stores are usually located in highly populated areas, your consumers will need to be able to ease their way quickly and easily throughout the store.

Consider installing automatic door openers so people can enter and exit quickly with little effort and prevent accidental closures. In addition, make your public restrooms accessible for people to use.

Keep the store clean and tidy and always purchase enough shelving to accommodate customers.

Understand Seating