Convenience store gas station models have become more than a place where consumers get gas, cigarettes and lottery tickets. While fuel sales are of course a major part of c-store income, even bigger profit-makers lie in the stores: offering convenience items to everyday shoppers and increasing your bottom line. C-stores are leveling the playing field, no longer competing with just other gas stations and c-stores, they are competing with grocery stores, pharmacies and even fast-food restaurants. A majority now offer full menus of hot and cold quality food, fresh produce, or other products and services you wouldn’t have seen at a gas station in the past.
There are several challenges in meeting these new consumer expectations. Enticing customers to come inside can be tough, increased labor needs raise costs, and service and payment acceptance have to be faster and more flexible than ever.
We know that bad experiences drive customers away. As merchants, you try and mitigate this at all costs, from ensuring proper staffing, to installing self-checkouts to offset the long queues. Let’s face it, shaving off a few seconds at the checkout is necessary, as it allows you to help the next guest quickly. According to a recent survey, ease of checkout and payments play a huge factor for 82% of consumers. 25% of consumers will ditch a line if they need to wait two minutes. This number goes up to 73% if the wait times is five minutes or more. What’s worse is it only takes one bad experience for 17% of customers to walk away and never come back. All of these points add up to show that faster throughput and short queues are essential to achieving overall customer satisfaction.