Why the lottery isn’t the only “winning ticket” at your c-stores

By : Steven O'Toole

November 02, 2018 12:00 PM

Lottery headlines flooded news feeds recently, and lotto players watched as one lucky South Carolina resident won more than $1.5 billion. C -stores everywhere can use lottery sales – and a wide array of other non-fuel products and services – to help combat the uncertainty of petroleum margins.


While the average c-store gets 1,110 visits each day, 7 out of 10 of those customers only purchase fuel. Many retailers are struggling to:

  • find ways to interact more meaningfully with their customers
  • draw customers into the store to buy higher-margin items
  • personalize customer experience with the brand
  • earn customer loyalty and regular repeat business


At NCR we start by enhancing the touchpoint at the pump, using it as a “blank slate” for content that engages and communicates with customers. To promote the lottery, screens at the pump could show various games, fast facts about the lottery, or drum up excitement as jackpots grow. Some other ideas for using the pump to boost engagement – and revenues – could include:

  • Food and beverage: Foodservice is an area of convenience that punches above its weight, making up 21% of retail sales but contributing 34% of in-store profits, according to NACS. With more and more consumers getting their meals in non-traditional places, there is significant opportunity to entice them into the store with a coffee just the way they like it in the morning, or a sandwich-and-drink special at lunchtime.
  • Targeted offers and communications: When it comes to advertising, one size does not fit all. This is why it’s hard to rely on pump toppers and other forecourt signage alone to drive offers. Using factors such as dayparts, purchase history, and saved preferences, you can deliver discounts and promotions that are individualized for each customer. For instance, a car wash upgrade for a customer who purchases a basic car wash on a regular basis would speak specifically to areas of his or her interest.
  • Vendor funding: NACS reports that most c-stores carry between 2,500 – 3,000 SKUs, representing a range of vendors and consumer packaged goods manufacturers across many different categories. One way to use your sites to earn more revenue is to include vendor-funded content at the pump. From soft drinks to popular snack items, you can provide an additional platform for them to amplify the reach of their brand and market new products.
  • Loyalty programs: Lastly, don’t forget that engagement doesn’t necessarily have to be an offer. On average, it takes 2-5 minutes for a customer to fuel up. For those customers that aren’t yet part of your loyalty program, use that time at the pump to make it easy to sign up while they’re filling up their tanks. Or remind them to check their tire air pressure, oil or other fluid levels – providing value in a way that doesn’t involve “selling.”


These are just a few possibilities for driving more business from the forecourt, and it’s up to individual retail brands to pursue the most profitable areas of focus for their brand, their geography, and their customer base. Our team can help with both the planning and implementation of a forecourt strategy that works for your business – learn more about how to maximize 100% retailer-controlled content at the pump and leverage your existing forecourt assets to win in the new convenience and fuel landscape: www.ncr.com/futureproof-forecourt or +1 404-649-0769. 


Steven O'Toole headshot

Steven O'Toole

General Manager, Convenience and Fuel Retail Solutions at NCR

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Steven joined NCR in 2017, leading overall strategy and priorities to drive a best-of-breed solution portfolio that helps Convenience and Fuel retailers achieve their unique business objectives. He brings more than 25 years of experience with many of top Convenience and Fuel brands, such as Puma Energy, Conoco Philips, and BP