17 Reasons You Don’t Use Marketing To Grow Your Convenience Store Sales & Customer Counts.

1. You don’t know how to begin.

2. You don’t understand modern retail marketing concepts and tactics.

3. You don’t want to.

4. You don’t think it’s needed.

5. You think it’s a waste of money.

6. You think it’s an expense.

7. You think it cannot be measured. ROI.

8. You have nothing to market.

9. Your stores are not different than your competitors.

10. Your stores are worse than your competitors.

11. You are waiting for the next Magical Product to be available to save you

12. You don’t think you are creative.

13. You don’t have anyone to help you do it.

14. You think your competitors’ marketing is way ahead of you, so you think ‘what’s the use?’

15. You’ve never held a basic marketing plan in your hands.

16. You believe cokes and smokes will still get customers in your store.

17. You think Amazon, AmazonGo, and Dollar stores selling gas are a passing fad.

Here’s the truth.

Some of the most successful retailers today started as one store many years ago.

What they initiated that you haven’t YET is they worked EVERY DAY to create new value for customers, differentiated that new value, and THEN communicated it to customers with marketing.

Then customers responded by trying out this new value. They came to the stores and bought stuff.

They loved it, and did I again and again.

Even in the convenience store space, the big players of today were ALL smaller players years ago.

The one theme you’ll see time and time again is the work they did to create new value, differentiate it, then market it.

It works every time it’s honestly tried.

And you can do it too. You simply have to start, today. And do it with the resources you have at hand and can afford.

As your marketing gains traction and sales success, you’ll gather more steam and resources and momentum.

That’s when it gets fun, you start to really compete (even against the big boys) and even start to kick a little convenience store ass.

When I wrote the marketing and promotional plans for Sheetz when I worked at an ad agency for them, (1993-2000) I created and implemented my own set of 25 marketing tactics that helped catapult their growth.

In my recently published Marketing Manifesto For Convenience Stores, I outline them for any convenience store retailer to use, whether you have 5 stores, or 155.

Email for a FREE copy. It’ll change your business life. I guarantee it.

And one final thought for those of you non-believers who think it’s still too late to begin your own marketing program:

Q: ”When is the best time to plant at tree?”

A: “20 years ago…and today”

Start now. Create new value now. Market now.

Plant your tree. Light your fuse.

Tim Lazor, President.


WEB: www.conveniencemarketing.net

PODCAST: https://www.buzzsprout.com/189695

The Parable Of The Magical C-Store Product

Once upon a time, there was a convenience store owner.

And everyday, the owner looked to save pennies on his purchases. He tried to save pennies on the coffee he bought. He was always fearful of the customer who took a couple of creamers with him. So the owner tried to save even more on his coffee by not brewing as often.

The owner tried to save pennies from his distributors, beating his rep up on every purchase. Sometimes the owner even left his store to go to Sam’s Club to save pennies on items like coffee and candy.

And even though foodservice was the future of c-store profits, the owner never considered it because it would require investment, and since he was busy saving pennies, he never risked in that area.

He wanted to save pennies instead of creating new customers and sales.

Then one day, a Sheetz convenience store opened across the street.

And the owner lost sales and customers. Gas customers. Coffee customers. Candy customers. And since the owner had no food program, there was no reason to visit his store for the convenience of food.

And since the owner never marketed his store because he had never created any marketplace differentiation–he had no reason to–and sales and profits took a nosedive.

The owner decided to go to the NACS convention in Las Vegas that year. He heard that if you walk the show and attend the educational sessions, you would learn that there were “Magical Products,” new products you could put in your store, sell without effort, and reap the high profits of these Magical Products.

The owner arrived in Las Vegas, and walked the show, in search of the Magical Product.

One morning, he attended an educational session called “How To Make Your Store Unique, Different & Profitable. And How To Market It.”

The owner was intrigued.

But the presenter did not offer magic…or magical products. No, he offered that the store owners ask themselves questions like:

Why did you really get into this business?

What are your personal passions about your business?

Why are you and your store unique?

Why is your store a destination like no other?

What is one thing you can offer to customers that no one else can?

If you went out of business tomorrow, would the world miss you? Would they notice? Would there be a hole in the market? Why? Or why not?

The store owner felt himself getting angry. And so were the owners in the audience. They shouted:

“Our cokes and smokes sales are dying! We demand answers! What should we do?”

“Our gas margins are down! What can we do?”

“We heard there were magical products here, and you are telling us to differentiate ourselves and our stores! We want our convention money back!”

But the presenter persisted…

“The secret is in how you see your stores. You want to save pennies and believe you can “save” your way to success and profits. It’s impossible.

“Instead, ask yourself: “How can I create NEW VALUE for my customers around my gasoline program in the forecourt?

“How can I create NEW VALUE for customers at the Backcourt? In the four linear feet in front of the registers?

“How can I create NEW VALUE for customers with my coffee and fountain areas?

“How can I create NEW VALUE for customers in foodservice, at the cooler doors? Lottery? Check cashing? In the restrooms?

“How can I create NEW VALUE for customers in center store? The way my store is designed?

“The reason you are under siege from competitors is BECAUSE YOU LET THEM TAKE CUSTOMERS AWAY FROM YOU. You thought saving pennies would save the day. It won’t, and never will.”

The mob was silent.

They realized—begrudgingly–he was right. There was no mythical or magical product to save the day. There was no rescue coming.

The secret was there was no secret.

It was all hard work.

When the convenience store owner got back home, he pulled out a piece of paper, took a deep breath as he looked across the street at his competitor, and wrote at the top of the page:

“10 Things I Can Do Now To Create More Value For My Customers.”

#1. _________

The End.

Tim Lazor, President.


WEB: www.conveniencemarketing.net

PODCAST: https://www.buzzsprout.com/189695

My One Intention For Convenience Store Retailers

My Intention?

It’s to help change your performance. Challenge your outdated ways of c-store thinking, and challenge you and the way you operate, differentiate and most importantly, market your c-store.

If you are still reading, we have similar ideologies. That’s good.

Why the challenge? So you can attract new customers. Profitable customers. Repeat customers. Larger basket-ring customers.

To help you compete and thrive, instead of just survive, in a competitive landscape dominated by big players with deep pockets. In a market with new competitors like Amazon, Amazon Go, gopuff, and DGX stores. New gas outlets. New QSRs.

And let’s be honest. The retail industry got here by not changing and being stagnant and complacent.

Disruption like this never happens overnight.

It happens when you’re asleep.

Now you are under siege, looking for answers and real partners to help you, right?

Let me ask you, who’s on your side? Manufacturers? Not really. They usually give you one size fits all programs that benefit them, regardless of your customer base, location or market.

Your distributor? Many of them are simply reps for manufacturers. And let’s be really honest. You want rock-bottom prices from them, thinking you will “save” your way to success and profit.

And when that doesn’t work, you bitch at them when they don’t bring you new ideas and initiatives.[1]

But how can they invest in you when you won’t invest in them? When you are driven by low price alone?

Finally, what marketing and consulting firms are real experts in the convenience industry, and can help you uncover your differentiation and market it in a smart, strategic and affordable way? Help you create new value for customers and then communicate and market that value?

There aren’t many.

The good news is this: Even with all of the industry disruption in the c-store category, it’s ALSO creating new opportunities for you and your stores. It is. And if you are open to it, we can explore those opportunities together.

But if you think you can run a store that is a step above a junk store, this challenge is not for you. If you think you can run a store without the fundamentals of great coffee, solid and custom planograms, some sort of food program, a clean store with clean restrooms and safe lighting, this isn’t for you.

If you spend your time at NACS praying to find the next Magical Product that will save you because you ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS just put it on your shelf and it sells itself, this thinking is not for you.

Why? Because there is no magic, no secret, no hack. (As much as we all want one.)

It’s all hard work. It’s creative work. It’s innovative and passionate work. It’s marketing work. And it never ends.

So, if you’re open to taking a baby step on that journey of change, join me here…

‘Cause we’re about to kick some c-store ass, take some names, and catapult your store’s performance to new levels of profit and success.

What have you got to lose?

Remember, fortune favors bold actions. And there is no profit without risk.

Come on; let’s kick that first ass…

…It’s gonna be fun.

Tim Lazor, President.



[1] There are exceptional distributors out there who will add tremendous value to your stores. One is TeamSledd http://www.teamsledd.com