Are You Going to Have the Summer Time Blues?

Summer is upon us.  The sun is out, summer vacations have started, and the American dream of swimming, bar-b-ques, and outdoor fun is in full swing.  It’s not too late to make sure that you are ready to maximize the opportunities that the summer season has to offer.

Traditionally, summer has been the peak time for convenience stores.  We sell more soft drinks, beer, snacks, and fuel during the summer time than any other three-month period of the year.  In fact, many c-store companies make their annual profits during this time.

So, are you where you need to be?  Here are some things to check:

  1. Is your store clean and inviting? Make sure that the parking lot and front of your store is litter free, that the floors are mopped, the food service areas wiped down on a regular basis (especially the inside of the roller grill sneeze guard and the back splash of the fountain machine), and that all of your lights are working.  Our customers come to our stores more frequently during this time and we want them to have a positive reaction to our store.  If they like what they see now we can get them to come back more often during the winter.
  2. Do you have enough bagged ice for sale? Ice is a huge seller during the summer (surprise, surprise), so make sure that you have enough on hand and that it is rotated in the ice merchandiser.  Ice that is frozen for too long becomes freezer burnt and tastes bad so make sure that you, or your ice supplier, put the new bags on the bottom and the old bags on the top.
  3. Use some of that old ice in tubs to ice down soft drinks and beer. The sight of drinks on ice will increase impulse purchases so make sure that you have your highest gross profit dollar beverages handy for your thirsty customers.
  4. Are your gas dispensers clean and in good shape? Are all of the card readers working properly and dispensing receipts?  The summer heat can play havoc on the pump electronics and fuel gear.  Customers don’t always complain about slow pumps or inoperable equipment but they will remember it and may go somewhere else next time.
  5. Speaking of fuel sales, make sure that your street pricing is in line with your competition. People drive more during the summer so they are more aware of pricing.  Being just a few cents higher than your competition can mean that the customer goes down the street.
  6. Finally, remind your staff that summer is an important time for your business. From the employee’s point of view it may be busier than usual, the store may be hot, and your customers frazzled from the heat and/or too much fun.  Good customer service is a year round project and memories created during the summer will stick with your customers throughout the year.

Good luck with the summer sales season!