Blog - C-store


 

Wal-Mart is in the Game

Posted Fri, May 9, 2014

Last month, Wal-Mart opened its first convenience store. The new Arkansas store is stocked full of convenience items from packaged groceries and non-food items to fresh sandwiches, pizzas, fruit and a walk-in beer cooler. A unique canopy covers the site's six fuel dispensers, extending from the pumps to the store entrance.

Wal-Mart dominates the supercenters with a 25 percent market share of the $585 billion industry. But they have also seen recent success with the smaller store, quick trip concepts like Wal-Mart Neighborhood market and Wal-Mart Express. Currently Wal-Mart holds 10 percent of the $415 billion quick trip market share, a percentage they are aggressively working to increase. Wal-Mart plans to nearly double the small store rollout within the year, representing 320 percent growth between fiscal years 2011 to 2015.*

Wal-Mart How can an independent c-store owner compete with prices as low as Wal-Mart's? How will independents remain viable and relevant to customers in this ever-evolving retail environment? It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that large chains are doing something right. So how do they do it?

Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon says it plainly, "Customers' shopping habits are changing more rapidly than ever before. We must be more nimble and flexible as we operate our business to adapt to these changes...We have much to achieve this year, and this will inevitably include change."

In order to remain competitive, change is not a luxury€ it is a necessity. What do you need to change in the way you operate your business? Are you getting the best prices possible from all of your vendors? Or are you too comfortable, apprehensive or unwilling to go through the hassle of change?

It is time to evaluate your operating efficiencies, cut costs and maximize profits. When you have an opportunity to save money, you need to take it. If you don't, someone else will.

*Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Raymond James 35th Annual Institutional Investors Conference

Posted in : Industry News |  No Comments >>
Tags : Wal-Mart , convenience store , change , competition , independent operator , c-store


The Importance of a Walk-through

Posted Tue, September 24, 2013

What is the first thing you do when you pull up to your store in the morning? Unlock it - flip over the “Open” sign, maybe grab a cup of coffee and start counting cash?

Here’s a little tip for your morning routine that might take you five minutes, but will make you new and returning customers. And what do returning customers mean for you? MONEY. Lots of money. Cleanliness is the easiest, most inexpensive way to gain and retain customers.

So here’s the tip: take a daily morning walk-through as if you were the customer.

The walk-through allows you to see your store through the eyes of your current and prospective customers. And their decision to shop at your store begins before they even pull into your lot.

Here are some key areas to quickly survey first-thing each morning (Remember, this is from a customer’s perspective!):

OUTSIDE PRESENTATION
Is the grass mowed? Is trash blowing around the parking lot? Are there oil stains and old gum on the parking lot and sidewalks? Are parking spaces identified with yellow lines? Are the doors and windows cluttered with advertisements so I can’t see inside?

FUEL PUMPS
Is there graffiti, grease, or grime on the pumps/nozzles? Are the pumps bagged off? Are the trash receptacles overflowing?

RESTROOMS
Are they clean? Are there adequate paper towels and toilet paper? Is the mirror clean and free of cracks? Are light bulbs burnt out or flickering? Is the odor foul or pleasing?
For the love of all living things…We want clean restrooms!

INSIDE PRESENTATION
Are the floors mopped and swept? Is the store layout fluid and easy to navigate (i.e. are cardboard promotional shippers crowding my way)? Are the shelves dusted? Have the walk-in shelves been stocked? Are the fountain/coffee areas clean, inviting, and organized?

CHECK-OUT AREA
Are the cashiers friendly? Do they look approachable? Are they wearing uniforms? Are the uniforms clean? Are they counting change back to customers? Do they greet customers and thank them for their business?

If, after reading this, you are slightly overwhelmed with the amount of progress to be made, let me offer you some solace: the purpose of the morning walk-through is not to fix everything right then and there. It is to acknowledge that there is room for improvement. Carry a small notepad in your pocket and make note of the issues. Then try to mark a few things off every day.

And here’s another idea. Bring your employees in on the fun as well. Once you have set the bar higher on your expectations of cleanliness and organization for your store, have them survey the store too. Give them the opportunity to find areas of improvement and work to resolve those issues. You will find that your employees will take pride in your store’s presentation, which will also lead to greater job satisfaction.

Do any of you practice the morning walk-through? Comment on this post and share your success stories with us!

Posted By:
Ben Bowman
CSA Regional C-store Consultant
South Central Region

Posted in : CSA Best Practices |  No Comments >>
Tags : walk-through , tips , best practice , c-store , convenience store , appearance , cleanliness , employees




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