Posted on: May 6, 2021 |

Standing out and grabbing customers’ attention can be difficult in the convenience store market. There is a lot of competition in this market, and customers have little incentive to make repeat purchases, other than convenience itself. So how can you make an impact, keep customers coming back, and get their attention? Try these innovative marketing ideas for convenience stores in 2021.

5 Innovative Marketing Ideas for Convenience Stores in 2021

Leverage New Items and Tech

Most consumers quickly become accustomed to the same old products and arrangements, and these patterns start to fade into the background. This no longer becomes a notable decision-making factor when they decide what to buy or where to buy, so they tend to rely on habits, routines or implicit memory.

Highlighting new products, promotional items and using new technology can help to shake up these routines and make an impact on customers. If they try a new item and become a fan, they’re more likely to return to the store for a repeat purchase, especially if other convenience stores don’t carry the same item. Or, if new technology can make consumers’ lives more convenient or help to save them money, they’re more likely to remember this and make a return visit.

Consider how you can use technology to improve your in-store experience, especially for low-margin items or items that present a particular challenge or obstacle to customers or staff. This might mean adding an easy-to-use rewards program or loyalty card, making a common product easier to access, or even redesigning a product display.

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Get on Google Maps

A look into local search statistics shows how important online searches are for consumers today. With as many as 46% of all Google searches focused on local businesses and over half of “near me” searches resulting in an in-store visit, Google maps has become an important marketing ideal for convenience stores in 2021.

When a local customer searches for “convenience stores near me” on Google maps and similar applications, they should be able to find your stores immediately. If not, they’re likely to go to an easy-to-find competitor. You can claim your listing on Google maps to start with, or add your location if it isn’t on the map. Encourage your customers to review the location to help your listing show up more prominently on a local search. Take advantage of Google’s free tools like Google My Business to make your business listing more prominent.

Leverage Social Media

Maybe you’ve already considered social media as a marketing idea for convenience stores in 2021, but you’re unsure where to start. Many business owners aren’t sure where to start, or how to get real value from the time that they invest managing the account.

Consider what you’d like to accomplish with social media, and create a strategy around it. Many business owners want to simply attract more attention to their stores and get locals to come in and visit more often. To do this, try the following strategies:

  • Choose a platform that makes sense for you. Who are you trying to reach? Older adults and parents tend to use Facebook and Instagram more often, while younger adults and teens use newer platforms like SnapChat and TikTok. Consider your target audience.
  • Understand the mechanics of connections on the platform. Some social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter use hashtags or organize content and make it easier to find. Others, like Facebook and Reddit, use groups or threads. To get value out of social media, use the platform and be sure you understand how users are finding and getting value from content.
  • Create valuable content. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: what would be helpful or interesting to them? This might be a discount code, a contest or giveaway, a new item release, or even a special customer spotlight. Have a plan for creating content that users will want to interact with.
  • Showcase your social media. Your social media presence shouldn’t be a secret. Place signs in your store so your customers know where they can find you online and what sort of content you’re posting.

Community Sponsorships

When customers recognize a business and feel comfortable shopping there, they’re more likely to visit. Putting your business name into the community with community event sponsorships can help to boost recognition and enthusiasm for your brand.

This marketing idea for convenience stores hit obvious snags last year when COVID-19 disrupted many in-person events, however these activities are likely to return in 2021. As local sports events, social groups, community action groups, church events and more spring back to life, consider a community sponsorship. Once again, consider your target market: are you hoping to improve recognition and trust with older adults, parents, teens, or a more specific group? Consider what community events are likely to catch the attention of this group.

Contests and Special Events

Contests and special events help to generate excitement and buzz. They can also help to improve a customer’s recall and encourage them to visit your location again. Contests, giveaways, and other special events are a great marketing idea for convenience stores in 2021 that give you lots of flexibility. Promote these events in your store and on your social media channels to generate more buzz.

These special events should be easy to enter with very little complexity or knowledge required. Consider the following ideas:

  • Raffle: Encourage customers to write their names on their receipts and enter into a raffle when they make a purchase.
  • Win a free item: When a customer purchases a particular promotional item or reaches a particular purchase minimum amount, give them a chance to win a free item. This might involve a simple mini-game, such as a guessing game, spinning wheel, or a mystery box.
  • Scavenger hunt: Place stickers, magnets, figurines, or something else around the store, and encourage customers to find them, and win a prize. This can help customers explore more items, and it’s especially fun for families with young children.
  • Trivia: Use a “question of the day” to give customers a chance to win a prize with a correct answer. You might consider questions that are related to the prize or to the community.
  • Community highlights: To forge connections with the local community, consider a discount or promotional item for particular community members at certain times, such as veterans, parents, members of a local high school sports team, teachers, and more.

Even in a competitive marketplace, these innovative marketing ideas for convenience stores in 2021 can help to reinforce your brand and build up your position in the community. Get a good idea of who you’re trying to reach and how you can make an impact on them. Then, choose an innovative marketing idea and start building a strategy.