I read an excellent article in CS News by Joseph Bona about creating your own identity and not just trying to copycat what other stores are doing (unless it’s fundamental).
I’ve made a post or two about how I think gas stations and convenience stores are pretty sedate. (Nice word for boring) Granted, people aren’t looking for Disneyworld when they just want to get gas or something to snack on. But you have to ask yourself, why are they going to stop at MY station? What makes MY store unique?
Some people might just stop because you’re within a block of where they live and that is to be expected. Are they stopping because their car runs better on Shell gas? Most probably are not. Is your store even reflective of the neighborhood you’re in? If you have a station a block from Yankees stadium, are you selling Red Sox T-shirts in it? Let’s hope not.
I once had a lady asked me to help her with her 7-Eleven in Danbury CT. I know you can’t do a lot of things in a franchise like 7-Eleven, but I thought I’d see if I could help her. While I walked around her store , I noticed a lot of construction workers going in and out. Because I speak a few languages, I noticed they were speaking Portuguese.
I asked the owner how many construction workers would come there a day. She responded “hundreds!” I asked if most were Brazilian. She also responded in the affirmative. This was maybe a little over 15 years ago and I said “are you allowed to sell things like jerseys?” and she said yes. I said “why don’t you have any Ronaldo jerseys? She said “WHO?” I said “he’s the most famous soccer player in the world and he’s Brazilian!” I knew different products that Brazilians identified with and and asked why weren’t you carrying these things?
Because I knew the Apotheke in downtown Danbury did. And it’s a pain to park and it’s a pain to get in and out there but they had that Brazilian market locked down. This 7-Eleven was located right by the entrance to Interstate 84. You tell me who had a better location.
I hope this lady in Danbury took my suggestions. I’ve seen stores add butcher shops, flower shops, custom donuts, specialty pies and too many things to mention and developed their own followings.
Change can be good. Experiment.