The convenience store sector has faced down an international pandemic and survived, even thrived. However, few of the changes have been easy, and you may feel like your store operations have lost efficiency as your employees work to assimilate the transitions. Let’s take this opportunity to get back to the basics of how to effectively run a chain of convenience stores, taking into consideration what we’ve learned in the past year.
At its most basic, the job of a convenience store manager is to run a store that is successful in terms of inventory, revenue and cash flow; employee training and scheduling; and company policy enforcement.
Let’s take a closer look at how this is playing out in 2021.
What Makes a Successful Convenience Store?
The sector’s bedrock premise was proven in 2020: The whole point of a convenience store is that it’s convenient for its customers. They are willing to trade the wider selection and potentially lower prices at larger stores for the time they gain by popping into a small location where they know exactly how to find what they want. That’s why the pandemic accelerated the trend of c-stores offering more variety in their grab-and-go food service, fresh food options, even short-order kitchen service. Speaking of time, in addition to the c-store’s traditionally extended hours of operation, customers have also come to appreciate time-saving new options like at-the-pump ordering, curbside service and contactless transactions.
According to NACS, here’s how the intersection of time and convenience is manifesting in today’s c-store environment:
- The average time it takes a customer to walk in, purchase an item and depart is only three to four minutes.
- Although revenues are falling from fuel and tobacco products, food service sales are increasingly becoming convenience stores’ most profitable category.
- An average convenience store selling fuel sees around 1,100 customers per day.
It’s not enough for a convenience store to simply exist on a busy corner anymore. Post-pandemic customers have exacting standards for cleanliness and public safety. Effective store managers optimize the perception of safety through well-spaced and easily navigable displays, well-groomed and service-oriented employees, and regularly cleaned, well-maintained and well-lit facilities, both internal and external.
Put Your Data to Work
One of the keys to effective store management in 2021 is implementing the most efficient technologies. The labor market is tough, and completing processes with little or no human involvement can make a significant difference to your bottom line. Popular solutions include employee scheduling apps and inventory management software that integrates with your POS system. The most effective managers leverage as much data as possible from these systems to streamline processes, optimize budgets and set goals.
There is another app that can streamline and automate processes across your operations, including employee training and retention, regulatory compliance, continuous improvement, brand consistency, and internal auditing.
MeazureUp’s mobile, customized app replaces all your paper documentation procedures and brings measurable gains in efficiency, accountability, data-based decision-making, and the delivery of a consistently excellent customer experience in every store.
The daily checklist solution documents specific actions employees take throughout every shift, automatically recording the employee, date, time and location and uploading every record to the app’s centralized dashboard in real time. The app also houses instruction sheets, best practices, and other procedural information to ensure employees take the right action at the right time, every time.
C-Store owners and regional managers appreciate how quickly they observe their managers become more effective. They can see at a glance what’s going on in any store, no matter where they are, and assign one of MeazureUp’s customizable, automated action plans to address any deficiencies. However, MeazureUp really elevates managers through its employee management automation.
Effective Labor Management
A successful convenience store needs a well-trained, high-performing team with a variety of skills – and once that team has been established, optimum effectiveness requires developing employee satisfaction and retention to reduce the cost and effort of managing turnover.
MeazureUp supports and integrates your employee retention efforts from day one. It takes all your training online, where it can be standardized and customized according to job descriptions and responsibilities. New hires can complete their onboarding wherever they are. Retraining and cross-training activities are easy to schedule and complete. And when training updates are needed, your operational team makes the updates just once and the app rolls them out to every device in real time. No one is ever out of the loop or using outdated materials.
Finally, MeazureUp features feedback options and the full transparency that employees appreciate. Their goals and achievements are supported by data-driven metrics that they can check on a daily basis, and their reviews and interactions with managers are based on objective outcomes.
“Soft Skills” Support Your Business
When MeazureUp automates your employee training, compliance, checklist and auditing functions, it frees up a lot of administrative time that your managers can spend on important activities that nurture your employees. These could include inviting suggestions for improvements, talking through challenges to find solutions, developing employee growth plans and goals, communicating company news and updates, and other leadership and mentorship activities.
Managers can devote more time and attention to observing and listening to the needs and wants of your customers. It’s a given that our society has changed over the past year, but effective managers can learn about lifestyle changes and emerging trends directly from local customers in each store.
Create More Effective Managers
Becoming a more effective convenience store manager involves a variety of operational areas such as technology and data optimization, labor management, and general leadership skills. Implementing the “soft skills” of effective management could vary by store, but that’s actually one of the benefits when MeazureUp is bringing standardization, automation and consistency to each store’s operational processes.
For more information on how MeazureUp makes your managers – as well as your operational team and your store employees – more effective, click here.