How C-Store Owners Can Find Their Competitive Advantage

As a small business owner in the retail space, competing against the larger chains can be one of your greatest challenges. Fortunately, there are several things that small c-stores tend to have a leg up on.

​​When compared to large chains, smaller c-stores tend to have a better opportunity in finding their competitive advantage, because they can often interact more closely with their customers. This means that small c-store owners typically have more repeat guests that rely on particular products or services.

Here are some of the most important ways that you can create a space that keeps your customers coming back.

Provide More Personal Customer Service

While offering great customer service should be a priority for any business, small businesses have the ability to do so on a more personal level. Unlike larger convenience stores or chains, small independent c-stores tend to have a lower employee turnover rate and often get to interact with the same customers each week.

This means that when customers stop in, they’ll likely be seeing a friendly face behind the counter. This is an automatic advantage against the larger chains because it gives small c-store employees the opportunity to learn their customers’ names, recognize their buying habits, and ultimately keep them coming back.

Stay Involved with the Community

Another way c-store owners can connect with their customers more closely is by staying involved in the community. This can be as simple as installing a donation drop-off box in your store, collecting donations for local shelters, or giving away excess food. This shows customers that you’re not only focused on driving profits, but driving the betterment of your local community.

Pay Attention to Popular Products

Though smaller c-stores may be limited in size, you can still ensure that your product and service offerings meet the needs of your customers. This means focusing on quality over quantity. Generally, customers who stop in at a convenience store are looking for specific food items like quick snacks, candy, refreshments, and household staples like over-the-counter medicine.

It’s important to pay attention to your inventory records to better understand what sells the most and what’s going to waste. By paying attention to your inventory records, you’ll have a better understanding of what your customers are most attracted to, and what will keep them coming back in the future.

Offer Services that Your Customers Need

When customers come to a convenience store, they are looking for more than just snacks and drinks. They want easy access to the services they need. Consider possible pain-points your customers may have and what they need from you, beyond just an energy drink.

By offering services such as check cashing and money orders, small c-stores can provide customers with financial services that are more accessible than traditional banks. Not only will this draw more customers to your store, but it also creates additional revenue as customers are likely to buy more items while they are already in the store. By offering walk-in financial services, small c-stores can find success in meeting their customers’ needs and setting themselves apart from their competition.

Work with a Partner that Understands

If your efforts to find a competitive edge and maximize your profits involve partnering with another business, it’s important to choose a partner who understands your market.

By working with a business that understands your needs, you can ensure that your customers are also getting services tailored to their needs. If you’re considering offering walk-in financial services, look for a partner that provides easy-to-use software and low fees. This will keep the line moving quickly and ensure your customers have a great experience.

In addition to technical features, it’s also important to consider the company’s values and operating model. Many big chain walk-in financial service providers will actually drive customers to their own website, rather than encouraging them to visit your store. That’s why it’s crucial to find a partner that understands the small business space and is willing to help you.

Grow Your Business with Each Interaction

For years, Fidelity Express has worked with single-store and small chain convenience owners to bring walk-in financial services to their communities. To us, you’re more than just a transaction – we genuinely care about helping you, so that you can help your community.

If you’re looking to find your competitive edge as a small c-store owner, consider adding some of our walk-in financial products to your store’s offerings. Paired with highly personal customer service, community engagement, and an enticing selection of products, our walk-in financial services can help you grow your business, one customer at a time.