Evaluating Performance in 2015

Are you optimistic about the success of your store in 2015?

recent article from Convenience Store News (“C-Store Retailers Optimistic About 2015”) mentions that 86% of convenience store operators who responded to a survey anticipate an increase in average sales compared to 2014.

However, the article also inserts a cautionary note by reminding convenience store operators that they need to avoid complacency.

Success in part means remaining alert to your competitors and what they’re doing. It also means regular self-evaluation to ensure that you’re running your store in the best way possible.

What metrics should you look at?

When it comes to convenience store operations, you need data to see how you’re doing. In addition to sales figures, what are some of the things you should try to measure?

  • Number of visitors. With as much accuracy as possible, try to gauge the number of visitors you get. Beyond that, figure out when you receive the most traffic to your store, and when traffic is most sparse; the windows of time you look at could be hours of the day and days of the week. Having this information can influence a number of decisions you make, including how to better promote your store and how your staff should interact with customers.
  • Inventory. If you’re keeping track of inventory in a sloppy way, you’ll fail to give customers what they need and wind up falling behind your competitors. You need a solid grasp of what your hottest items are during different periods of time; this understanding will also help you better showcase your products.
  • Outcome of marketing campaigns. If you’re promoting your store via social media or using loyalty cards and the Street Corner POS, are your efforts successful? How are you measuring the strength of your marketing? Do you know what marketing channels bring in the most customers?
  • Online interaction. How many people are finding out about you through Facebook, Twitter, Swarm, Instagram or Foursquare? How many are sharing information about your store via social media?
  • Customer feedback. Receiving feedback from customers is critical. They can do this in-person, and you can also give them opportunities to provide feedback online. Feedback should include product and customer service evaluations; you can also include questions about how visitors initially found out about your store and if they’re repeat visitors (or intend to visit again).

Start 2015 off on the right foot by considering the metrics for your success. An optimistic attitude is important, but it needs facts to back it up. Having the right data at your fingertips, and knowing how to evaluate the information, will improve your chances of thriving in the year to come.