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7 Big Ideas from Day Two of CRU 2016

Restroom realities, redefining Bubba, Marriott’s ‘secret sauce’ and more

DALLAS -- On the second day of CSP’s Convenience Retailing University in Dallas, attendees broke into CRU courses and category talks to really drill down into their categories.

Eric Chester at CRU 2016

From high-level employee strategies to merchandising nitty-gritty, here are seven more ideas to take back to the office for consideration.

Please Remember to Flush

“We’re still America’s restroom”: Store designer Joe Bona of MoseleyBona on how basic needs of consumers haven’t changed over the years, even as they now demand better food and a higher quality of retail experience from every outlet.

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

RaceTrac convenience stores have banned the term “Bubba” from its lexicon, according to Dayna Reed, director of reporting and insights. Through a shopper segmentation study, the c-store chain has instead identified three key demographics to which to market:

  • Drive arounds: Consumers who eat out a lot.
  • Safety seekers: Typically women who appreciate the convenience of c-stores but don’t really like them. They’ll typically seek out brightly lit and clean locations.
  • Munch and go: The core consumer who may be in a convenience store three to six times a week.

You Load 16 Tons and What Do You Get?

Eric Chester, author of “On Fire at Work,” used convenience-store chain QuikTrip as an enviable employer. The company, he said, is transparent about salaries, pays competitively, gives bonuses for mystery-shop scores and has training that includes at least two weeks of manager shadowing. The company shows employees a career path, and employees feel like QT cares about them and their success.

Now Hear This!

Chester also uncovered Marriott’s “secret sauce” to success: Every manager has to have a 15-minute “stand-up” meeting (ideal for eye contact and paying attention) each day. During the session, they cover three things: what the team is doing right, areas they need to improve, and ask their employees “what do you need to do your job better?” They don’t have to have an answer every time, but the employees always feel they’re being heard.

Cracking Breakfast

With McDonald's going to 24-hour breakfast, retailers need new strategies to not only keep consumers, but "milk" incremental profit potential, said Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal at Technomic, Chicago. She said play with the differences between weekend and weekday breakfast drivers, provide a balance between healthy and indulgent options and take credit for inherent strengths of convenience and grab and go.

Racking Up Sales

Pam Romeli, vice president of Csquare, advises her independent retailer clients to keep a rack for seasonal products and new products. Customers will get used to looking there to see what’s new.

Refill 'er Up

Are those refillable coffee mugs or soda cups collecting dust in your c-stores? Jacqui Cintron of Whirley-DrinkWorks says start with an objective rather than a product:

  • What do you want to do, drive traffic? Increase “likes” in Facebook? Get customers to come back more often?
  • Choose an offer to get you there.
  • Then select the product to help.
  • Finally, execute the program and measure your success.

Follow CRU 2016 at #ConvenienceRetailing.

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