Convenience store floor space is very valuable. It is important to try and get as much profit from each square metre, shelf, fridge, freezer, or display.
This takes planning and constant evaluation. Luckily, most oil companies provide detailed planograms based on national trends and the latest sales information from the network. Following the planogram is a quick win you can implement immediately.
Another technique you can use in your convenience store is to analyse the flow of customers. In this edition, and the next, we have included five easy steps that will give you a better understanding of how customers shop in your store. You can then use that information to finetune your shop layout and planogram.
The first three steps are detailed below. In the next edition, we will provide some insights into using this information to increase sales in your convenience store.
STEP 1: STORE LAYOUT
- Measure your store length and width
- Draw your store layout on paper with gridlines (each grid square can represent a tile)
- Measure the basic distances between major shelves/fridges/etc
- Make sure you include the exits and entrances and show each shelf and fridge
- Make sure you indicate any stands, round bins, loose shelving, newspaper stands, etc
- Note: You can draw the layout on MS Word by inserting different shapes, activate the gridlines to make it easier
You will use copies of this layout page to gather data on your customers movements in store.
STEP 2: TRACKING
- Write your store name at the top and make a few copies of the page
- Get one of your employees to stand in a corner of your store and indicate where each customer enters, walks to and stops
- It is important to show where they enter the store and in which direction they walk
- Make an X or draw a circle where they stop along the way
- Create a new line when they move to another area
- When the paper becomes full, use a new one
- Make sure you do this on a few occasions, different times of day, other days of the week and weekends
- Write the date and time at the top of the page
- As you complete additional pages, you will see trends emerge
- Customers may be bypassing entire aisles or shelves, or they could be moving from one area to another for a reason you had not even considered
STEP 3: HOT/COLD SPOTS
- Look at the areas where many customers go (hot spots) and the areas where only a few customers go (cold spots)
- You can use highlighters to identify hot spot areas and cold spots
- Analyse the routes they follow:
- When customers arrive on-site and walk into your convenience store, they are most likely on a “destination journey”
- The destination could be buying milk and bread or getting a pie and cold drink. That is why these products are often at the back of the store to draw customers in
- Promotions, combos, and frequently bought items are ways to increase sales on this journey
- Once customers have completed the destination journey, they most likely switch to the impulse journey
- This is where you can increase sales by using the latest planograms, laying out your store according to the store flow and using cross-merchandising
- It is important to identify the most likely routes on the destination journey and the most likely routes on the impulse journey
- You may need to complete a store flow diagram on several days to get an accurate picture of the hot and cold spots and the journey routes
Make notes on the back of the page of any specific reasons customers may be visiting a particular area more than usual. E.g. if you have energy drinks on promotion, more customers would likely visit that specific fridge during the promotion.
Try to complete several store flows during the next month and look out for PART 2 of this newsletter next month for insights on what to do next.