Is Your C-Store Ready for the Holiday Season?

By Vladik Rikhter

Last-minute holiday shopping in a convenience store is no longer a punch line – it’s practical for busy consumers.

As a retailer, why not cash in? Generally speaking, 25 percent of U.S. consumers plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year, compared to 20 percent last year, according to a recent survey by Accenture.

4 ways to maximize revenue this holiday season

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1. Stock your stores with last-minute gifts

Items include gift cards, lottery tickets, holiday candy and other stocking stuffers.

Did you know? An October survey conducted by the NRF revealed that holiday shoppers will spend more than $31 billion in gift cards this year, making gift cards the most requested item for eight consecutive years.

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2. Be prepared for partying consumers

Last year, the National Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing (NACS) conducted a consumer survey that indicated one in five consumers planned to shop more often at c-stores to pick up beer, wine and snacks for parties they were attending or hosting. More than one in three shoppers aged 18 to 34 said they would buy more of these items from c-stores.

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3. Be prepared for snowstorms and bad weather

Wintry weather can wreak havoc on gas sales and in-store categories like packaged beverages.

Make up lost revenue by adjusting your merchandise for changing weather conditions. Offer supplies such as shovels, salt, snow brushes/ice scrapers, batteries and bottled water.

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4. Verify in-store promotions and communicate with vendors and employees.

Stocking your stores with holiday merchandise won’t help your bottom line if you don’t maximize your promotions. Encourage store managers and employees to verify displays and report exceptions to vendors.

When holiday shopping, more consumers consolidate stops by filling up their tank and grabbing a bite to eat at a c-store, as NACS’ survey indicated last year.

Increased foot traffic could mean more out-of-stocks and more customers misplacing merchandise.

Stay organized and improve communication between headquarters and your locations. By being proactive and readying your stores for the holidays, you’ll dig into a bigger slice of sales.

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