5 Ways Busy Independent Retail Owners Can Make Time for Marketing

Posted by Brent Harms on Wed, Apr 22, 2020 @ 07:30 AM

Business man trying to stop time. Man hanging on clock arrow isolated on gray office wall background. Time pressure passing past concept

We get it – especially these days when you have to re-think every aspect of how you are functioning. The average day of a convenience store owner or manager doesn't leave a lot of (or any) time to do anything but the business of running the business — interacting with customers, doing paperwork, overseeing inventory and restocking, supervising employees, ordering from your supplier, processing payroll and putting out the myriad fires that can flare up during any given day. Who has time for marketing, right?

You might want to rethink that, and now might be the perfect time to do it.

For C-store owners, marketing is one of the most powerful ways to make you stand out from your competition. In a recent blog, Marketing Strategies for the Busy C-Store Owner, we highlighted the Four Ps of C-store marketing: Products, Placement, Pricing and Promotion. 

About the fourth P: Promotion. We can help you with that. App-based loyalty programs are a great way to promote your store and for your customers to stay in touch with you 24/7. More than that, according to a recent report, The C-Store Shopper Profile 2018 from Excentus, loyalty programs are now as important to the customer as location when they're choosing which C-store to visit. The percentage of people who choose a C-store on the basis of location (44%) is nearly the same as those who choose it because of a loyalty program (43%). That's huge.

The report further found that the majority of C-stores aren't maximizing the potential of their loyalty programs, which means your competition may not be, either.

Now, all of a sudden, those marketing efforts you don't have time for are becoming the key to giving you an edge on the store down the street.

Finding the time

How do you find the time in your day to focus on marketing? Here are a few ideas for carving out a timeslot:

Change your mindset. Many people think of marketing as something they're doing for the business. Switch that thinking! It's really customer service! You're letting your valued customers know about promotions they can benefit from, bringing in interesting food choices to delight them, and creating a more inviting environment — all for your customers. The fact that it boosts your bottom line is gravy.

Make a list of the Four Ps, then think about the strengths and interests of your employees. Do you have someone who is especially interested in the local food scene? Put her in charge of finding interesting local fare like sandwiches and wraps. Maybe someone else is a budding Marie Kondo. He's the perfect person to switch up your placement. Wise delegation is the key to covering all of your bases.

Create a team to handle your loyalty promotions (we hope that includes one of Simpliconnect’s dedicated Account Managers). Don't just set it and forget it. One of our customers, Keith's Superstores in Mississippi, went all in, setting up outdoor tents to launch their loyalty program and involved numerous employees across 39 stores. In under a year, they enrolled 25,000 customers!

Don't wait until things calm down in your store to focus on marketing. The dust is never going to settle. Something will always come up. And COVID-19? This too, shall pass. Now is a great time to set a strategy to improve your market position so that you are prepared when everyone is able to get back to business as usual.

Write down weekly marketing goals. These should be small, actionable goals that you and your marketing team can meet each week, whether it's getting one new food item into the store or coming up with 10 promotions to advertise on your loyalty app.

By finding the time to focus on marketing, you're ramping up your customer service, offering them valuable deals and promotions, and giving your business an edge on the competition.



Tags: Loyalty Marketing, Convenience Stores, Rewards Program, convenience store rewards, Simpliconnect