How to choose your convenience store brand — and why it matters

It would be easy for us to tell you to choose the country’s most popular convenience store, but focusing solely on the number of outlets each brand has isn’t a useful measure of success. The brand you choose needs to meet the needs of your local market to make sure you maximize on your potential profits.
How to choose your convenience store brand — and why it matters

A brand is not just a company name — it’s an identity. A well-known brand carries with it a set of instantly recognizable elements. By just looking at a sign above a shop, a passerby understands what products the shop sells, the price point they sell them at, and the level of service they expect to receive.

Building a brand is no easy task, it takes time to build up a consistent image of your business and even if you personally manage every aspect of your offering, you can never have full control of public perception. Luckily, convenience store owners can leverage the years of work put into building some of America’s top convenience store brands — by choosing a franchise opportunity.

The “top” convenience stores

Each year CSP Magazine publishes a list of the “Top 202 convenience stores” and unsurprisingly 7-Eleven has topped the list with the most convenience stores across the US for the past five years in a row.

The convenience store giants that sit at the top of the list have built huge followings among the public. A quick social media search will show you posts upon posts from everyday customers showing the products they purchase, and the experience they have with each c-store brand. These customers act as a loyal fan base, sharing their experiences spreading the word among their peers.

But are they your customers?

Most popular isn’t always most profitable.

It would be easy for us to tell you to choose the country’s most popular convenience store, but focusing solely on the number of outlets each brand has isn’t a useful measure of success.

There are a number of factors that can help to predict the future sales volumes of your potential convenience store. Each factor is unique to you and your store, and what may work for one store won’t always work for another.

The first step in deciding the right convenience store brand is understanding what the market needs. Find out who your customers are and what they need from a convenience store. Take a look at your local competition and see what they’re offering. Is there an opportunity to fill a gap and offer products and services that your competitors aren’t selling?

Getting a deeper understanding of how to best serve your market will help you to narrow down the list of potential c-store brands and guide you to make the best choice.

With your newly gained market insight, and a reduced list of potential c-store brands you can now start to work out which brand will perform best and bring you the greatest gains.

How do you accurately project future sales volumes?

For over 40 years, Kalibrate has been providing full feasibility studies for gas stations and convenience stores and has developed a framework to measure the impact of all aspects of your store — and the way they work together: The 7 Elements for Fuel and Convenience Retail Success.

Brand is just one of seven factors that are vitally important to the decision-making process and should become part of your overall strategy. The others are location, market, facilities, merchandising, price, and operations. They should be reviewed regularly to help you proactively respond to market changes.

Considering the role of each of these elements in the overall strategy, and daily tactics of your convenience store will allow you to maximize performance and get the most potential from your store.

You can read more about the 7 Elements and how they influence your store potential in this downloadable white paper.

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If you would like a deeper understanding of how to choose the best convenience store for your location, Kalibrate’s Single Site Analysis can provide the answers.

A full gas station and convenience store feasibility study from Kalibrate will provide you with a detailed analysis of each of the 7 Elements, along with volume projections based on different site scenarios.

Find out more about Kalibrate’s Single Site Analysis or request a sample report here.

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