Customer

Marketing to Hispanic Customers

According to The NPD Group, Hispanics in the U.S. are more likely to purchase groceries, dairy and bread from convenience stores than non-Hispanics. What are you doing to cater to this growing consumer base? By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Marketing to Hispanics is just like marketing to any other ethnic group, which is what can

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Growing Your Car Wash Business

Location, appearance and service are among the most important factors to consider when building and operating car washes. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Getting the most out of a car wash operation is no different than getting the most out of any profit center a convenience store offers to the public. It hinges on two

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Training Employees to Succeed

At first glance, one might think investing in employee training during economically challenging times would be counter-intuitive because it requires a significant monetary investment. The truth is training must be an ongoing priority in any retail business. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Building a sense of teamwork among store employees will make them more productive,

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Demand Grows for HBC

From single-serve cold medicines to hair care products, the health and beauty category is attracting new customers of all ages. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. With healthcare capturing so many headlines these days, the health and beauty category (HBC) has taken on added importance in the c-store set. Fueling much of the growth: smaller package

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Smokeless Tobacco Earning Extra Display Space

While electronic cigarettes are gaining a lot of attention in c-stores, sales of moist smokeless are chugging along. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Convenience stores have a significant opportunity to target consumers in overlapping tobacco segments, such as converting cigarette smokers over to moist snuff or cigars. Experts expect this group to increase moist smokeless

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Driving Frozen Beverage Sales

Convenience store operators who are cashing in on frozen dispensed sales are combining new and exciting flavors with popular promotions, good equipment maintenance and a strong foodservice offering. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Frozen beverages are widely regarded as a high-growth category, and convenience store operators looking for more of a good thing are complementing

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Chicken Takes Flight at C-Stores

Overall poultry sales continue to experience strong growth as retailers look to boost their menus with healthy items that offer flexibility and value.By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. What’s not to like about chicken? Americans love it for its taste, variety, healthfulness and price, and c-store operators like that it is versatile—think sandwiches, wraps, salads, tenders

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Elevating Your Foodservice Strategy

Emerging competition from nontraditional operators like food trucks means c-stores must raise their game when it comes to the all-important food category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Foodservice continues to serve as a key point of differentiation for convenience stores. Keeping the menu fresh requires innovation as well as a keen eye for new products

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What Your Cigar Customers Want

Whether it’s flavored products or low-cost brands, OTP customers remain among the most loyal in the store. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. How much is too much is a fundamental question in retailing, and all the more so when it comes to cigars. With so many new products, flavors and line extensions to choose from,

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Energy Products Stimulating Store Sales

Though they come in small bottles, liquid energy shots continue to deliver a big sales punch on convenience store counters. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Despite widely publicized health concerns about some of the ingredients in energy drinks, Bob Falkenberg founder of Alpharetta, Ga.-based BeveragePulse.com research firm, said he expects sales to continue to increase

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Strong Growth for Frozen Dispensed Beverages

Consumer demand is surging as operators continue appealing to new audiences with new flavors and product innovations. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Everyone agrees that frozen beverage sales are strong and the outlook for the category remains extremely positive for the next few years. For 2012, the NACS State of the Industry report found that

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A Renewed Interest in Salty Snacks

Emphasizing snacks throughout the day as a meal replacement or an afternoon treat is driving sales across all age groups. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The past year was a strong one for nuts, seeds, crackers, pretzels, popcorn and trail mixes, according to convenience store sales data from SymphonyIRI. The largest of these subcategories, nuts,

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E-Cigarettes Come of Age

With Big Tobacco now in the game, electronic tobacco products are poised to take an enormous leap forward. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. While some view electronic cigarettes as a threat to the cigarette industry, others see them as a lifeboat of sorts, providing smokers who don’t want to or can’t smoke cigarettes anymore—for a

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Plan to Stay Safe

Cash control programs and effective employee training will help minimize theft and ensure the well being of your employees. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Keeping theft at bay has always been a major concern for c-store retailers. While technology has come to the rescue in the form of safe and cash-management systems, the best way

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Understanding Consumers Key to Salty Snacks

Whether it’s embracing healthy snacks or sticking with tried-and-true brands, convenience stores must closely monitor sales data to track what their customers are buying in this important core category. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Recent consumer research seems to suggest that many convenience store customers looking to buy salty snacks leave the store empty-handed. Knowing

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Prepaid Profitability Soars

Today’s card capabilities surpass the features offered by many checking accounts. These features include managing prepaid purchases through mobile devices and social media accounts and the ability to make person-to-person transfers. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Prepaid cards can be tied to financial services such as remittance and bill payments, but that may mean competing

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Sustaining C-Store Security

The newest safes and interactive security systems, including those that tie neatly into a point-of-sale (POS) system, can help operators track cash and monitor employees on a shift-by-shift basis. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Follow the money is good advice when it comes to unraveling conspiracies, but it is even more important when it comes

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Rolling Right Along

Emphasizing quality and a dynamic product assortment has had positive effects on food sales at the roller grill. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Rollers grills can do a lot, but they do not sell for themselves. Managing roller grill food sales is no different from other foodservice categories in that convenience store operators need to

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Predicting the Future of Convenience Retailing

From healthy foods to a radical shift in goods and services, retail futurists offer a glimpse of the changing consumer needs that could shape the convenience store industry over the next 10-20 years. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Customers seeking today’s newest phone apps. Electric fueling stations rather than gas islands. Stores that change format

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Building a Profitable Cigar Business

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Doing Confections to Perfection

Americans aren’t eating out as much as they used to, but they are eating more chocolate, which means the time has come for c-store retailers to rethink, revamp and restock their chocolate sets. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Data from Experian Simmons research group noted that, among chocolate eaters, 56.4% have visited a c-store in

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Securing the Back Office

From PCI compliance to loyalty programs, ensuring customers that their private information is secure and being used appropriately is essential in gaining their trust. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Consumers trust retailers with vital personal information every day. For their sake—and yours—protect it. It’s not as hard as some may fear. There are some basic

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Convenience and Versatility Power Pizza

More Americans than ever are eating pizza, according to data from consumer research firm Technomic. A full 41% of respondents to a Technomic survey said that they now eat pizza at least once a week, up from 26% two years ago. Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Americans’ love affair with pizza isn’t likely to end any

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Building a Winning Beer Business

The near-term future of beer sales in convenience stores involves flavor, value and craft products geared toward specific age groups. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. The good news about beer for c-stores is that consumers absolutely love it. The bad news is that consumers love lots of different types of beer—and there are more places

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Bursting With Energy

Our nation is in the midst of an energy crisis. And it has nothing to do with the price of oil. Sleep-deprived and overworked, Americans crave anything with the word “energy” on the label. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor. Energy drinks are of course wildly popular, but energy shots—those two-ounce packages loaded with concentrated doses

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