onvenience stores are the prime spots for consumers to buy fuel, accounting for around 38 percent of all c-store profits. Therefore, the importance of re-fueling cannot be understated as a timeframe in which c-store retailers can target their customers to come in-store and increase their spending.
With the rising popularity of pay-at-the-pump technology, c-store owners must find innovative and interesting ways to keep their customers coming inside or they may risk a significant drop in revenue.
The main way in which c-stores can convert fuel sales into store sales is by engaging customers at the pump. If a customer sees an aesthetically pleasing advertisement at the pump, they are significantly more likely to want to come inside to find whatever product is being marketed. This is particularly the case for food and drinks ads, playing into a customer’s appetite and igniting cravings for the long road ahead.
One innovative Krispy Kreme ad campaign shows half of their signature doughnut with a bite out of it sticking out of the pump, urging customers to simply ‘try some’. These unpretentious imperatives and commands can convince customers to go inside, spend money, drive brand awareness and also draw attention to specific offers in-store such as a free coffee with every doughnut.
QR Codes included within such ads are another great way of engaging customers at the pump. Giving customers the chance to place orders while at the pump so that their food or drink will be ready just as they come inside to pay makes the entire purchasing experience more seamless, thus driving in-store sales.
This is particularly the case for customers who are in a rush and always on the go such as businessmen and women who may not have time to order inside. Thus, customers can multitask while they wait for their tank to fill, increasing their efficiency and reducing the need for chit-chat inside the store which puts some busy potential buyers off.
As well as the classic static advertisement, new technology is making it easier for c-stores to drive in-store sales from fuel transactions through updateable ads. MagicINFO Remote Management Solution (RMS) working alongside Samsung allows franchises and retailers to revise their ad screens through their phones or computer depending on the time of the day, allowing for real-time versatility.
This includes showing breakfast deals in the morning versus lunch deals in the afternoon or updating with the seasons like showing iced coffees and ice creams in the winter versus hot drinks in the summer.
This adaptability can help to convert fuel sales into store sales because it allows c-stores to create hyper-targeted campaigns that will play directly into what a customer needs at any given moment whether that’s a morning coffee to wake them up or a night-time dose to keep them alert for their twilight drive.
These screens also allow c-stores to use videos and moving advertisements to enhance impact and engage customers at the pump as opposed to the mundane stationary advertisement. This digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) allows for unique moment-based triggers to be utilized.
For example, on days with high pollen counts, collaborations between c-stores and medicinal companies could drive sales for c-stores by activating custom messaging about a new allergy medication. These customer triggers can be extremely intentional, from advertising sunscreen on a hot day to updating on traffic density or sports events and public holidays. Ultimately, these moving ads are designed to attend to a consumer’s every need and will drive in-store sales from fuel sales.
Another way that c-store retailers can convert fuel sales into store sales is by using individual purchase data to make ad campaigns hyper-focused. One article by CSP Daily states:
With individual contact information, such as an email address, coupled with a history of purchase behavior, marketers today are equipped with the intelligence they need to encourage the customer to make their next purchase. A well-designed loyalty program motivates customers to share their contact information with you, which enables the brand to gain insight into individual purchase histories.
Therefore, by creating loyalty programs, c-stores can use data-driven insights to understand a variety of customer demographics and preferences. Purchasing behaviors are very different for each customer group (the truck driver compared to the soccer mom).
So, c-stores can send targeted offers depending on the specific person visiting their fuel pumps such as showing a children’s toy offer for the soccer mom versus a discounted fast-food burger for a trucker. This can be particularly useful through pay-at-the-pump apps which are now increasing in popularity.
Ultimately, c-stores must make use of fuel sales and convert them into in-store sales if they want to maximize revenue per fuel visit. There are many different techniques that c-stores can utilize whilst customers wait for their car to re-fuel, and these are only set to expand with the rise of advertising technology currently in motion.