3 Ways TVs Can Elevate the C-Store Experience

Gaining a competitive advantage
Photograph: Shutterstock

Convenience stores are elevating the in-store experience on several fronts, from updating decor and design to reconfiguring store layouts and investing in new technologies to streamline transactions and operations. As foodservice grows in importance, many retailers are also adding “stay awhile” amenities such as seating and free Wi-Fi in an effort to satisfy the varied needs of today’s consumers looking for a chance to pause and refresh.

Televisions with special programming offer just one type of tool c-stores are finding they can use to “hook” their customers and get them to stay longer, buy more and even improve their employee training and retention.  

Improved customer experience

A largely untapped opportunity exists in the convenience industry to capitalize on television entertainment as just one of the ways they can stand out from other competitive channels—no pun intended. This is especially the case as more c-stores expand their in-store dining, and simultaneously, the amenities that come with that.

Although televisions are not yet widely available in convenience stores, many operators recognize the benefit of the technology, especially in common customer areas of the store.

Among c-store operators who currently have TVs, more than half (58%) say that TVs create a welcoming environment for customers and 52% say it encourages customers to stay longer and spend more[1].

Even among those who do not currently have TVs installed in customer areas, 67% percent believe it would create a welcoming environment for customers and are considering or planning on adding the amenity as a result.1

Customers view in-store TVs in a similar way. Overall, more than half of c-store users (53%) say they want to engage with in-store TVs as part of their experience, according to Technomic’s custom survey. This number jumps to 71% among “super heavy users” of c-stores and 63% of “heavy users,” which include consumers who visit more than once per week and at least once a week, respectively.1

Programming and promotions

Many c-stores currently use TV screens to provide custom-tailored, in-store messaging about products and promotions in customer areas, which also enhances guest purchases.

However, piggybacking on the idea that TVs can enhance the in-store experience, c-stores can also use special programming to promote foodservice deals and packages tied to certain events, shows or sporting occasions.

Packages could be offered around popular TV programs and sports events including college basketball championship games, awards shows or show premiers and finales as part of a “viewing occasion.” Special deals on chicken wings, for example, could be offered during Sunday football games or bundled pizza and a beverage specials for movie nights.

Employee training and satisfaction

In addition to improving customer satisfaction, TVs can be used for enhancing employee satisfaction and business-building initiatives, such as employee training. C-store owners and management can use TVs to show videos and demos during training as just one medium for communication. This can enhance employee selling skills, productivity and customer service.

As today’s employees seek development opportunities and value communication, the installation of in-store televisions can also improve employee retention when used to deliver training messages and other essential information.

Although limits would have to be enforced to prevent distraction, convenience retailers can use televisions in break rooms or other employee areas to gain an advantage over competitors in recruiting employees. Additionally, 55% of potential employees said they would be more likely to be more likely to seek employee at a c-store that offered televisions in the store, and 56% said they’d seek employment at a c-store offering TVs in the break rooms.1

Operators that train staff properly in the use of TVs might also reap the benefits of both satisfied employees and customers because they would be able to converse about the latest news, weather or sports. In these cases, whether customers are in and out quickly or taking a respite from their busy day, televisions can provide entertainment and a point of connection.

As society moves into an increasingly visual, digital age, leveraging televisions as another important communication device or entertainment source can help c-stores gain the competitive advantage they’re seeking.

[1]Technomic custom survey in partnership with DIRECTV.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV for BUSINESS℠