Now that we’re well into the third quarter, many c-store owners will start to experience challenging weather in their areas. In certain areas of the U.S. snow, freezing temperatures, ice, and rainfall will be affecting the way consumers go about their daily routines. This also means that businesses, including c-stores and small groceries will be experiencing a change in the flow of customers and their spending. While inclement weather can limit foot traffic and profits, it can also reinforce the importance of c-stores in times of emergency.
If you’re expecting a winter storm or frigid temperatures this winter, make sure you are prepared for all that may occur, so your customers know you are putting in the effort to operate your business at its best no matter what.
Stock Your Store Well
If you’re located in a part of the country that typically experiences harsh weather during the winter, you should be prepared to become an important resource for the people in your community. People that live near your c-store will need food essentials like milk and bread as well as items such as wiper fluid, batteries, and salt. Make sure that you are well prepared to handle not only traffic from those unable to travel far, but also from those who are required to brave the storm like police officers and healthcare workers.
Be Prepared for Your Own Emergencies
While your c-store may be considered a go-to location for customers experiencing an emergency, it’s also important to ensure that you are well prepared for your own emergency situations.
- Have back-up generator if possible in case power is down
- Keep shovels, salt, batteries, flashlights, and bottled water on hand
- Make sure you’ve worked out a plan with your staff to handle opening, operating, and closing the store
“Go the Extra Mile” to Impress Customers
Chances are, your customers will not be pleased about the weather in your area, especially if they’re experiencing trouble because of it. Try to find ways that you can go “above and beyond” for your customers to make their day just a little easier or simply just show them that you appreciate their business. Besides stocking items that they need, you can impress them in several other ways:
- Have special deals and offers for hot drinks like coffee and hot cocoa
- Do your best to keep your forecourt clear of snow and ice
- Keep your c-store’s floors clean and dry
- Make sure everyone working in your store is pleasant and as helpful as possible
Avoid the Mistakes Others Make
While you’re going out of your way to accommodate for business during bad weather, you should also make sure to avoid making a few common mistakes.
- Do not increase prices on your products to take advantage of consumers who need them
- Do not treat customers who are experiencing an emergency rudely
- Do not limit your store hours too much
Serving customers during less than desirable weather is a great way to solidify loyal customers and become an important part of your local community. Make sure your keeping an eye on weather forecasts and advisories so that you can best prepare for even the worst of storms, even if that means announcing that you will be closed.