Convenience stores, C-stores, bodegas, grocery stores, mini-markets, or how you call them where you live, is an omnipresent and competitive market nowadays. Inventory and variety are small. Prices are well differentiated.
The typical convenience store customer buys only a handful of items, and only because he must – right here and now. Given their almost 24 hours availability and the limited sales volume per customer, they must earn the most from every customer, and thus have a different approach to reaching success than other industries. Convenience stores demand an extra drop of creativity, and digital signage can provide just that by guiding the eyes of your customers to just the right points.
There is also the benefit that comes with an advanced and modern establishment. There are many tasty nuggets in the vast plate that is digital signage which can immediately raise the appeal of otherwise often stepmotherly decorated convenience store.
1. The most important benefits for C-stores
Use these specific benefits of digital signage for convenience stores.
Making a good first impression is one of the main points of digital signage. Convenience store customers are on the go and usually don’t spend too much time browsing around. This makes a solid first impression challenging. Your digital signage has the power to focus on the few seconds of attention received from the customer and provide that impression easily.
Competition in the convenience store industry is very strong and it’s vital for a store to have their products stand out in order to survive. There are many ways to use a digital display, starting from displaying special offers to providing local information, news or weather, all of which are stand-out factors.
Displaying products to gas station customers can be a great way to persuade them to come inside the store. At times, we all think since I’m already here, I might as well buy something, but at many gas stations the customer doesn’t need to walk inside any more if he was just out for gas. With a little thought provoker, a gentle nudge can be given from the display showing the best deals.
Message rotation is a great feature of digital signage which can be used in this field, ensuring your customers always see something new when they visit. Preferably, they see a complimentary item to what they are already buying or fits the time of day and typical needs at said time.
2. Gas stations with convenience stores
Both an interesting and a challenging combination.
First, in the case of a gas station, customers have a pocket of uninvested time. This is the time you can easily use. For ages, people now have used flyers and ads to exploit this little gap and inform customers about their offers. It worked to a certain extend, but the information was not aligned. Once you see something for a third time, it doesn’t register as remarkable any more. With digital signage, a system which is practically a waterfall of information, the problem doesn’t exist.
Second, customers visit a couple of times a week, maybe even less. It can be a challenge to maintain loyalty and inspire your customers to return if you only have one shot to begin with. You can use your digital signage network to inform about any frequent buyer discounts you may have or any unique information to your business.
At its core, digital signage helps to accentuate the offers you already have, which is an exquisite factor in such a fast-paced environment.
3. The system of advertisement in a convenience store
If information were a fluid, digital signage would be a funnel.
A good information system is a must in every industry, convenience stores included. If this system is in place, digital signage functions as a component to designate the behavior of your customers in exactly the way your business requires.
All products offered to your customers (a.k.a. your merchandising mix) can be adapted in just the right places based on consumption patterns throughout the day. If certain items, for example breakfast foods, are purchased at a specific time of the day, surprisingly, breakfast, it would be beneficial to focus on them at that specific time. The same applies to other consistencies throughout the day. A way to use this information would be to stock and position items throughout the day which has the potential to be a hassle. Digital signage can “hack” around the hassle and instead of switching your products and advertisements manually, you can simply focus on which products will be advertised during the day. This way, you bring the right information to the attention of your customers exactly when they need it.
Interactivity in digital signage is the easiest way to understand your customer as you can see exactly what they demand. This is only one of the advanced forms of digital signage in convenience stores. For example in the image above, displays are used to order food.
4. Shoppers respond to in-store displays
Nearly half of customers prefer stores with digital displays.
It is only natural to respond to a mobile advertisement you have probably never seen before. This is what makes digital signs more effective than static ones. As time progresses, focusing repeatedly the attention of the shopper is becoming the primary focus in advertising and communication toward customers.
The pocket of attention we saw earlier at gas stations is also present in checkout lines, and most of us will agree that this is easily the most hated part of shopping. No matter the topic, a customer will be willing to cut off a minute or two of waiting by examining a display.
Marketers are aiming to show the right information to the best fitting audience by identifying the customer audience to the core and presenting them a path to what they will want. This means identifying the demographic in front of the screen and displaying specific information.
All these components are something you can implement in your own store. Granted, the maximum level of sophistication in your information system will take effort, but even with a borderline acceptable information flow about your customers, you will notice significant change in customer loyalty, sales and traffic. Then we also have the prime case of human inability to judge a book by its cover in which, according to a study, nearly half (40%) of the questioned customers said they’d more likely shop at a store with a digital display. This is only one of many fascinating statistics on digital signage in stores.
Naturally, this does not mean a digital display is the sole foundation of a good store, it simply means that technology of this kind labels you as an up-to-date business: an appealing prospect to any customer.
5. General digital signage benefits for a convenience store
Jack of all trades, master of… many!
Digital signage has several general benefits which can be useful to each industry. We’ve seen some case-specific uses which can particularly help a convenience store, too, now let’s look into some general uses which mainly focus on the customer experience and perceived waiting times.
Displaying useful/interesting information
News, weather, sports results and charts are a classical example of information every demographic will find useful. There may also be specific to your environment cases, such as a currency chart or results and data about local events.
A component specific to many industries which cover a large or convoluted territory, wayfinding can be particularly useful at gas stations and convenience stores. Instead of a static map, a digital display can provide a great source of information regarding wayfinding. For instance, important landmarks or nearby locations of interest can be provided on an interactive display.
A very popular use of the digital signage network with each passing day, social media is becoming an integral part of any industry with waiting customers. The key benefit of this is the level of communication and interaction with your customers. In a way, it is also more personal to the viewer because it shows communication in the making and feels more real than a simple ad. This factor greatly improves the customer experience, lowers perceived waiting times and creates comfort.
Selling advertising space
This concept has been present long before advertisement jumped from paper to display. Selling your advertising space is still a very wise and effective option, if the location is right. Given the location dependent traffic they receive, convenience stations are an effective example of a good advertising space.
Summarized: Convenience stores and digital signage
Debatable in some industries, digital signage is without a doubt beneficial for each convenience store due to the traffic and amount of customers passing within the viewing range of a display. In the worst case scenario, these are locations which can have minimal traffic, but it will always exist in some form. Even the slightest flake of traffic is enough for digital signage to make it rage like wildfire:
- A strong first impression is primary necessity for each convenience store, and it is a necessity easily provided by digital signage.
- Standing out and enhancing your reputation labels your store as a modern and up-to-date establishment. Shoppers love that!
- An “add-on” component to your information system, digital signage can enhance the results and truly utilize the data you have about your target audience. Instead of simply collecting dust and making you aware, this information can be applied very easily via a digital signage network.
- General benefits of digital signage can be used here as with most industries. Displaying information like weather and news, social networking or wayfinding are also a possibility.
If all else fails, you can gather together a collection of advertisements and help your waiting customers make their wait just a little bit easier. Still, nobody said it has to be advertisements. Perhaps your customer base will respond better to something different? A Tom & Jerry cartoon perhaps? If it works, use it!
Images by Mark Freeth, Taber Andrew Bain and Random Retail.