Your C-store checkout counter is at the heart of the action. Personal interaction, hands-on marketing, impulse decisions, and final transactions take place there. So we may ask you: how is your c-store checkout counter performing? It takes skill to create an effective space that maximizes sales. Drawing in the customer and getting the brand conversation going doesn’t happen by accident. Let’s look at how an excellent counter works its magic. 

More than Just a Payment Center

Sure, the customer walks up to pay for purchases. But that’s because s/he’s conditioned to do so. Why not change the consumer’s mind about what goes on at your checkout counters? 

  • Upsell station. The customer’s already reaching for the money. Train your staff to suggest an upsell. It could be something as simple as a lottery ticket, flashlight, or stylish tote bag.  
  • One-more-thing buys. Columbo, the classic TV character, the most famous tagline was, “Just one more thing.” What is the one-more-thing your customers need? Which products would complement what they’re picking off the shelves? Maybe your shoppers frequently forget something. Stock it at the counter.  
  • Impulse buy opportunities. What are the little objects that your shoppers pick up most commonly? C-stores offer a wealth of impulse buy products. Single-serve snacks alone can be a goldmine. The hottest category here is “good for you” snacks like healthy snack bars and fresh fruit. Place a significant amount of them on and around the counter.  

Why C-store Checkout Counter Strategies Backfire (and how to fix them)

Maybe you’ve already tried to put these tips into practice. However, it’s not working the way you anticipated. There are some pitfalls to avoid. For example, the upsell is great as long as it doesn’t sound pushy. Work with your employees by having them practice their conversations to ensure that the sales suggestions sound natural. 

Stocking impulse buys merchandise on and around the counter works well unless it makes the space look cluttered. There’s a fine line between presenting a well-stocked display and introducing a cluttered surface space. As a general rule of thumb, make sure that there’s plenty of room for the customer to present merchandise for ringing up. As long as there’s enough elbow room, you can feature additional products.  

Just be selective about what you present. If there are plenty of contenders for the coveted display space, rotate your merchandise. It keeps things exciting and prevents clutter. When choosing the right products is easier said than done, consider working with the friendly folks at DisplayMax to find a counter that suits your needs. Some offer display spaces underneath the tabletop surface, which significantly boost the merchandise selection you can feature.  

The Secret to Successful Checkout Counter Interactions

A convenience store interaction is fast; typically less than 30 seconds while paying. This isn’t the time for lengthy conversations. You typically have a line forming. Don’t jeopardize the appeal of your store’s setup for the upsell. Instead, make the experience almost organic. The staff member weaves in the upsell suggestion with the buying transaction. Merchandise sits at the ready and is just a brief grasp away.  

Considering that the average convenience store selling fuel has around 1,100 customers per day, the lost opportunity costs can be very high to your bottom line.  

Follow this pro tip, and you boost the convenience of the shopping experience. By suggesting additional products, stocking what buyers frequently forget, and offering reasonably priced last-minute buys, you enhance the customer’s buying experience. They don’t walk away thinking they should’ve gotten something else. Instead, they feel satisfied with the transaction. And that’s what keeps them coming back – and buying more.   

Learn How to Improve Your C-Store Checkout Counter!