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:
- Examine your forecourt and restructure it (if necessary) to have very clear areas set up for curbside pickup. Make signs that lead customers to the correct lanes and direct them where to stop their cars.
- If you have a mobile app, use it to communicate every step of the ordering process—find out when customers are on their way, give them an option to let you know that they’ve arrived.
- Get your staffing set up to implement your curbside pickup. Pick a person to supervise each shift, decide if you want to have a stand for them as a constant point of contact for customers.
- Decide what you’re going to offer your customers and how you’ll package it. This is an opportunity to expand your offerings and to push your brand with smart, creative packaging.
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.”