Money is tight and we need to invest wisely. If I could only invest in rebranding or designing a certain part of my stores, where should I begin?

We are advocates of developing proprietary brands that represent not only the business but your passion for your business. It is what you sell every day and without your customers, there is no business.

It wasn’t so many years ago that the largest convenience store brand was affectionately known as ‘Food Mart’. A product of the big oil companies foray into retailing, it is synonymous with everything we don’t like about convenience retailing. New proprietary brands began to sprout up with many names today being commonplace in an effort to escape the negative perception of what a convenience store was all about.

Establishing your own brand can be a very powerful statement and help you to be known as, well, you, and not whatever the moniker on the fuel canopy might convey. Create your own brand equity with your signature products and legendary service. Give your customers an experience you would like, chances are they are very similar.

Branding can be a significant undertaking but one that requires you to step out of the day to day and focus on the bigger picture of your business. It is not about a name, logo or tagline; it is about what does this business stand for, who are the customers we serve and how can we collectively succeed. The process takes a deep dive into the DNA of the business to understand its culture and how it wants to be perceived. The outcome, when done correctly, is a highly developed, well-organized brand and related architecture that allows you to go to market in an entirely different way. New name, new look, new products, new buzz.

Destination zones in retail attract customers. It’s not a destination if you don’t know what it is or what it looks like. Give that area in your store its calling card with a personality, a reason to be discovered, enjoyed and sought after. High performing stores all have one thing in common. Outside of location, they have proprietary branded elements for which to convey the passion and commitment to the customers they serve. Doesn’t even have to be something they sell. Does anybody prefer sparkling clean restrooms to the alternative?

Bottom line is not to invest in your store, and by proxy, your customers are never the appropriate road to travel. We have always advocated customers are precious and you have to do everything in your power to make sure you give them the retail experience they desire. In return, they will reward you with loyalty, priceless goodwill and their hard-earned money. People have more choices than ever; it is imperative you make your business their preferred destination.

 

In your corner,

Swede