convenience store cleanliness

C-stores come clean about a secret to driving sales

Here’s an easy question: If you discovered that 84% of your customers weren’t even opening your door because of one simple, easy-to-fix thing… would you fix it? Of course, you would. And yet, many c-stores are still missing out on one of the simplest considerations for getting more customers to open up that door and buy: cleanliness.

Yes, the “c” has long stood for convenience, but that only says what kind of store you are. It doesn’t say why and how your store is different and better. According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey, the “c” that sets convenience stores apart is now “cleanliness.” A recent GasBuddy survey echoed that finding, saying, “The ‘new-era’ convenience store with a strong in-store experience will draw traffic.” By taking just a few simple steps, any c-store can invite in more customers and drive more sales.

Clean at first sight

That BCG study found that more than eight in ten people who stop for gas are more likely to go inside for an additional purchase if they feel the place is clean. But how can a customer see your store is really committed to cleanliness from all the way out at that pump? Simply put a dispenser of hand sanitizer, towel or wiper near every pump. It’s visible proof that you know clean counts, and it sets up the expectation that similar attention to hygiene will be found inside, too.

Clean all the way through

Once you get them in the door, it’s critical not to disappoint at any turn.

  • A clearly organized, uncluttered space will help customers feel at ease and find what they want.
  • Well-swept floors and well-kept restrooms will reassure them that they are in a dependable, quality business.
  • Making sure that restrooms always have adequate supplies makes people feel like the valued customers you want them to be.
  • Keeping additional hand sanitizer and napkin dispensers by your food and drink area will enhance the sense of food safety and overall appeal (and as foodservice is now a c-store’s most profitable category, this consideration is more important than ever).

Employees are the key

Of course, your store isn’t going to be kept clean and uncluttered all by itself – your employees need to both understand and truly embrace the value of cleanliness and good hygiene, starting with their own.

From initial employee training to daily reminders, workers should understand the benefits of personal cleanliness, especially in terms of hand hygiene and food safety. And they should also share in the rewards of a clean location. Even small incentives, like periodic prizes or small cash rewards for making stores shine, can motivate employees and help create a positive “culture of clean” in-store.

As that GasBuddy study of 121 million visits to c-stores recently concluded, “A great foodservice offer, killer loyalty program and state-of-the-art technology will mean nothing if a retailer doesn’t have a clean, safe store environment.”

Are your stores in shape to really clean up in the current marketplace?

CSP Daily News: Good hygiene critical component in your store’s food safety
CSP Daily News: How Cleanliness Drives Sales
IAB: Foot Traffic Report Q4 2017
Complantia: Convenience Store Industry Trends and Facts