Sign of the times: On-site communications speak volumes when it comes to enticing customers in store
As Canadian consumers become more selective about where and when they shop, it pays to know which marketing strategies resonate with shoppers at the gas and c-store level.
Technology and on-site promotional efforts play a key role in driving consumers in store and boosting pump-to-store conversion rates, according to proprietary data from Convenience Store News Canada’s C-store IQ: A National Shopper Study.
C-store IQ is the first convenience and gas specific study that delves into the wants, needs, perspectives and habits of Canadian convenience consumers.
Research shows that 43% of shoppers visit chain convenience stores and 38% visit independently owned convenience stores at least once a week. More than half of the convenience store shoppers (54%) visit preferred stores mainly due to proximity, followed by 46% who are motivated by needing to purchase gas.
During trips where shoppers purchase gasoline and shop in-store, 3% purchase merchandise and/or foodservice ‘every time’ and 17% purchase ‘almost every time’.
According to C-store IQ data, more than one-in-four shoppers who buy both gasoline and in-store items at least once a month are influenced by frequent buyer/loyalty programs (28%) to shop for that in-store merchandise. About one-in-five (20%) shoppers are influenced by promotional signage, while 10% are influenced by promotions on their mobile app.
More than 1,000 Canadians 18+ participated in the C-store IQ study, which revealed notable differences in how demographics responded to marketing tactics.
For instance, millennial shoppers demonstrate a higher likelihood of being influenced by digital promotional efforts (mobile app, social media promotions, mobile ordering and email). Overall, younger shoppers are more likely to be influenced by promotional signage or car wash promotions during a shopping trip.
- Millennials (14%) and Gen X (11%) are more likely than boomers (3%) to say they were influenced by video displays on pump.
- Millennials (18%) and Gen X (13%) are more likely than boomers (3%) to say they were influenced by gasoline nozzle display ads.
- Males (15%) are more likely than females (9%) to say they were influenced by gasoline nozzle display ads.
- Millennials (17%) and Gen X (21%) are more likely than boomers (10%) to say they were influenced by car wash promotions.
- Millennials (17%) and Gen X (20%) are more likely than boomers (10%) to say banners/window signs influenced them.
- Millennials (23%) and Gen X (25%) are more likely than boomers (13%) to say promotional signage influenced them.
- Millennials (14%), and Gen X (12%) are more likely than boomers (4%) to say mobile app promotions and deals influenced them.
The data shows that hunger is often what drives consumers in-store and messaging is key, especially when it comes to reaching those looking for a healthy snack.
- Self-defined health-conscious shoppers (12%) are more likely than non-health-conscious shoppers (10%) to say they were influenced by gasoline nozzle display ads.
- Health-conscious shoppers (16%) are more likely than non-health-conscious shoppers (14%) to say banners/window signs influenced them to go in store.
In today’s world, consumers are even more selective about where and when they shop. In turn, c-store operators large and small are working harder than ever to drive shoppers in store, which makes a strong on-site communications strategy that incorporates a variety of marketing tools, from signage to on-site promotions, essential.
For convenience and gas sites, the holy grail is driving fuel-only customers in store to increase overall revenue. However, 74% of shoppers say they don’t enter the store because they don’t need anything, according to From Pump to Purchase: Converting the Gas Shopper, a report from The Coca-Cola Company. Data shows time spent at the pump is a valuable opportunity to change consumers’ minds, with 31% of shoppers deciding whether to enter a store when standing at the pump. Here are five ways to make the most of the moment.
- Media terminals and video displays can inform, entertain and entice customers in store—they can also be easily updated with time-of-day specials
- Use pump toppers to promote special offers on food and drink
- Offer discounted fuel with in-store purchases
- Highlight ancillary services and products, such as ATMs and gift cards
- Invite customers to use your restroom
A window into your store
If the medium is the message then your store’s window is a valuable marketing tool that speaks volumes about your business. A cluttered window with out-of-date promotions, faded posters and general grit is a definite turn off and sends the wrong message to customers.
- Keep windows clean.
- Remove old posters etc.
- Update promotional signage from vendor partners.
- Consider an LCD digital window sign that can be updated regularly and is eye-catching after dark.
- Reduce window clutter by using sandwich boards to keep messaging fresh and engage consumers.