Staying afloat is difficult for many small businesses. Being successful over the long haul requires keeping ahead of market trends and applying creative solutions when downturns in business occur. Convenience stores are a retail business that provides a variety of goods to many customers. Maintaining steady sales and even increasing sales in a retail store with this business model is difficult. You can do it, however, by employing various strategies to bring more customers into the store and get them to buy more.
Encourage more sales at the checkout counter. Entice customers to make "add-on" or impulse purchases of items such as gum and candy, prepaid phone cards, gadgets to fix eyeglasses and books of crossword puzzles.
Locate useful, appealing and bargain items at the front of the store, across from the checkout counter. Try a lottery machine, film processing machines and photo booths. Sell seasonal items in bins, such as sunglasses in the summer and hats and gloves in the winter. The more diverse the items you stock, the more useful and convenient you make your store, which should help increase your sales.
Place related items near each other throughout the store. This makes it more convenient for customers to buy items that go together, and thus spend more. For example, place lighter fluid next to cigarettes at the counter. Place soda and beer near potato chips and other snacks, and disposable cameras or film for standard cameras next to the film processing booth.
Train the store staff to ask customers about purchasing items related to those already being checked out at the register. Adopt a more active selling strategy by asking these customers whether they would like to buy a related item. This is similar to the "push selling" done at fast-food restaurants, such as when you are asked at the drive-thru whether you want fries with your burger.
Offer promotions, frequent-buyer discounts, "buy one, get one free" sales and store credit cards. Encourage current customers to refer new customers. Give existing customers referral discounts if they bring a friend to the store. Advertise your promotions outside the store and in local media. Emphasize that your store offers the convenience of one-stop shopping.
Patricia Smith Michaels has been writing business and technology articles online since 2010. She has written instructional manuals and white papers for corporations and has more than 20 years of experience as a researcher and consultant in the areas of health care, education and management. She holds a Master of Business Administration in management and a Bachelor of Science in computers from St. John's University.