It seems obvious your convenience store should stock the products your customers want to buy. But how do you make it happen? It’s different for each store because each store exists in a unique geographic circumstance and with a different customer base. Even though each c-store is its own special case, national data can be enlightening.
Top c-store sales categories
According to NACS Magazine, the top selling in-store merchandise category in 2018 was cigarettes. A convenience store without cigarettes is like a beach without sand. You just don’t see a convenience store without cigarettes. This category’s typical profit margin is 14.4%.
Though the category of “other tobacco products” is fourth in sales, its profit margin is 30.4%. More money goes in your pocket with other tobacco products than with cigarettes. This means you should probably sell an array of tobacco products. Cigarettes will fly off the shelves, but other tobacco products will earn you higher profit as they sell at a slower rate.
Packaged beverages in second place (profit margin of 44.0%), beer in third place (22.9%), and salty snacks (38.6%) in fifth place round out the top five in-store merchandise categories.
These rankings make sense. Just about every in-store purchase includes an item in one of these categories. Are you stocking the high profit margin items most customers want?
*Data Table from NACS Magazine June 2019 Edition
Developing an inventory strategy
When your c-store first opened, you probably put products on the shelves you thought would sell. Empty shelf space meant you had a hot selling item. Dusty products meant you could barely give away those goods. Feast or famine for each product is no way to run a successful retail business.
If your inventory strategy consists of gut feel and nothing else, there’s a better way. Understanding your sales data can demystify how you should stock your aisles and storage space.
This information helps you keep your best sellers in stock, so you can always make the sale. Having the right products on hand increases your foot traffic because customers recognize you as an outlet for the things they want and need. As they come back, they discover new products. These discoveries increase your sales volume.
Putting tools in place
It’s nice to know what the national c-store sales trends are, but they don’t do you any good if your c-store doesn’t line up with those patterns. You need to understand your sales data to develop a winning inventory strategy. Alberta Payments + Technology can come alongside you to help you understand how your customers behave and how you should respond.
An Alberta point-of-sale system is more than just a way to process sales transactions. It has so much more behind it. Features like scan data and inventory management can help support your business decisions.
The scan data program allows you to earn manufacturer incentives without any extra effort. SMART inventory management tools help you know which products are moving and when to restock them. This easy-to-use technology helps you increase cash flow, decrease bottom line losses, and keep your customers happy.
Set up an Alberta demo
The key to figuring out your optimal inventory is to have the data and systems to help you make good decisions on a product-by-product basis. With technology from Alberta Payments + Technology, you have the information you need to stock the right items for your customers.
If you’re ready to see what an Alberta POS can do for your c-store, contact us today to arrange a demonstration.