Drive Shopper Engagement to Give In-Store Sales a Boost

Convenience store checkout
Photograph: Shutterstock

Of all the opportunities that come with the recovering market, expanding in-store shopping is among the most promising. While shifting to off-premise and contactless models helped convenience stores keep sales steady when pandemic anxieties were higher, the basket-boosting potential of an in-store shopping occasion is hard to beat.

Retailers are by and large optimistic about the trajectory of their in-store traffic levels in the coming months, especially now that more consumers are fully vaccinated and many are resuming their typical commuting routines. According to Technomic’s April 2021 C-Store Operator Update, c-store retailers say they expect in-store traffic to increase in their stores within the second half of the year.

In short, there’s no better time for retailers to invest in restoring and converting in-store shopping volumes—and key strategies can help maximize their returns.

Worth the wait

Shoppers and retailers alike are looking forward to seeing self-serve amenities return in full force; shoppers love the speed and convenience, and retailers love the opportunity to save labor. Plus, the return of self-serve food and beverages in c-stores may help bring more shoppers into the store.

What’s more, fuel customer conversion has stabilized at rates comparable to pre-pandemic levels, according to Technomic’s Q2 2021 C-Store Consumer Marketbrief, which is especially significant given that paying for gas is the No. 1 reason consumers cite for entering the store.

Of course, with a higher volume of traffic comes a possible slowdown in operations. Aside from boosting efficiencies to reduce wait times, retailers can make strides to make each shopper’s wait more enjoyable—perhaps even affording them an advantage over competitors. Installing televisions and playing sports or news coverage, for example, can help pass time more quickly for shoppers in line and ultimately improve overall impressions of the store. Professional sports channels can be an especially great choice here—who wouldn’t mind lingering a couple minutes as they catch up on the game?

In-store entertainment done right

The number of retailers offering entertainment via in-store televisions is set to increase dramatically in coming years. According to Technomic’s June 2021 Supermarket Intelligence report, 31% of grocers say they currently have televisions installed, and 59% plan to add them within the next three years—and such is likely the case among c-store retailers, too. In other words, offering some sort of entertainment in the grocery store is on its way to becoming the expectation rather than just an added bonus. Installing a television spells big opportunity for retailers’ long-term success, as 90% of retailers with televisions say that having TVs in their stores encourages shoppers to spend more and increases customer loyalty.

The quality of retailers’ entertainment solutions matters, too, both for shopper satisfaction and for ease of use for the c-store staff. According to Technomic’s Supermarket Intelligence report, good customer support, programming that appeals to customers and easy installation are the top three attributes retailers cite as most important.

Experience-enhancing solutions

For c-store retailers looking to elevate in-store occasions, a reliable television system can be an invaluable asset. Industry leader DIRECTV for Business offers solutions to these needs and more with flexible program management and pricing solutions, 24/7 support and, of course, high-quality programming that will keep customers coming back.

With a suite of professional sports programming, including NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass, MLB Extra Innings, ESPN College Extra and more, there’s a solution for every sports fan—plus countless channels for news, entertainment and even commercial-free music.

To learn more about how solutions from DIRECTV can help retailers jumpstart their in-store traffic and sales, click here.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV for BUSINESS℠