Published November 17, 2020
It’s been months since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, with many twists and turns affecting c-stores since then. But, there is a constant: consumers want you to meet their social distancing demands which is a must for maintaining customer loyalty.
That’s why it’s important for c-stores to engage more with their customers at the pump as they safely fill up their gas tanks. And, with consumers visiting the pump less during the pandemic, c-store owners and operators need to find other ways to increase their revenue, by bringing them into the store and offering non-traditional services. Here’s how forecourt advertising can help.
It takes an average 2 minutes to refuel a car. During that idle time, your customers are often mindlessly watching the scrolling numbers on the pump, looking at your store signs for relevant offers, sitting in their cars or looking at their phones.
Why not use this time to your advantage? Today's consumer craves constant content consumption. So, give them something interesting to look at, whether it’s eye-catching signage or at-pump video screens to promote in-store offers. Immerse your captive audience in a brand-driven narrative to increase sales and drive return visits.
Some grocery stores are still experiencing selling out of high-demand items. And, c-stores can serve as a lifeline to consumers unable to find things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies elsewhere. So, when you have a consumer at the pump, take the opportunity to let them know that you have a well-stocked inventory of essential items waiting inside. With oil demand decreasing as more consumers stay at home, it’s a good time for c-store retailers to expand their in-store selection by offering items that are running low at grocery stores.
It might seem like a big task to bring in more business during COVID-19, but focusing on ways to increase speedy, safe ways to give consumers what they want can help during this time and in the future.
Offer contactless, quick curbside pickup. For many c-store owners and operators, providing services curbside hasn’t been a large part of their business plan—until now. And they join other retailers, like restaurant owner and operators, in having to quickly make a curbside plan that not only caters to their customers’ demands, but does so safely and in a way that promotes their brand rather than takes away from it. For c-stores, you’ll want to consider the following when making a plan for curbside:
Supercharge self-service. Many c-stores were already starting to implement self-checkout kiosks in their stores and other self-service technologies, but simpler things like expanding roller grills to include more than just hot dogs can be helpful, too. Increasing ready-to-serve food and providing customers with contactless ways to pay not only addresses social distancing, it ups your convenience factor.
Take your store to them. In 2019, 7-11 started offering delivery services to their customers and it’s been a hit—especially during the pandemic. Now 90 percent of their stores offer delivery services from slurpees to energy shots. “How convenience is defined is completely different today than it was just a month ago,” said Chris Tanco, 7‑Eleven Chief Operating Officer. “Our customers are now looking for more convenient shopping solutions at home. Every day, 7‑Eleven is working hard to come up with new ways to ensure that people can still get the products they need and want in the most convenient way for them.”
Now is a good time to better engage your customers. Whether it’s investing in digital displays that offer vending and ordering at the pump, you’ll want to choose at-the-pump technology that allows customers to select, purchase, and pick up products right next to the pump while integrating with your POS system to streamline the payment process.
That way, your customers can seamlessly refuel their car and purchase everything from tasty treats to toilet paper without ever having to leave the pump, maintaining social distancing from other shoppers—and getting the customer service they’ve been wanting. And, with the support of outdoor payment terminals delivering targeted, engaging content and customer-specific offers—right at the pump, c-stores drive higher revenue by increasing opportunities to convert fuel-only customers and create greater brand loyalty.