Maximizing C-Store ROI: Beyond the Bottom Line

Think of brand, omnichannel, labor & sustainability as ROI 

Return on investment is a top-of-mind concern for any retailer—and capturing it is a major challenge for c-stores still feeling the effects of COVID-era shopping habits, record-high inflation, and increasingly complex omnichannel expectations. 

Start thinking of these obstacles as opportunities.  

Maximize ROI beyond the bottom line. Retail return isn’t just monetary: it’s reflected in how consumers interact with your brand, how you retain employees, and how your business practices affect the outcome of each. 

We’ve compiled some operational areas to start thinking of as ROI: 

Brand as ROI 

Brand is your consumer-facing ROI: keep shoppers coming back with a strong brand presence. In uncertain times, reliability is increasingly table stakes for brands. How do you achieve brand uplift amid competition?  

Build trust with your customers. 80% of shoppers say trust plays an important part in any purchasing decision. Shoppers derive brand trust from consistency and quality over long periods of time: provide a consistently quality product and/or service, and you’re on the track to trust. Active consumer engagement, whether in-store or online, personalization of the omnichannel experience and strong brand identity across platforms and locations also play huge roles in gaining—and maintaining—that trust. 

Digital marketing channels like social media and email build brand trust by showcasing what differentiates your brand from others. 68% of customers show greater loyalty to a brand if it shares the same values as them. What are your brand values? How are you expressing them to your target audience? Data is omnipresent retail operations nowadays: harness that information to your advantage. Get to know your customers and what they want. The more they feel valued, the more they trust your brand. 

And the return speaks for itself—loyal, pleased customers that turn into brand ambassadors. 

Omnichannel as ROI 

Omnichannel is here to stay: Online and delivery orders increased by about 50% during the pandemic and are expected to rise further yet this year. Robust online and in-store systems syncing up to provide a personalized shopping experience for every kind of customer is crucial to building and retaining a loyal customer base. 

Bolstering your omnichannel ROI might include: 

Don’t underestimate the power of comprehensive omnichannel. Meet every customer where they are, and secure the return—no matter what channel. 

Labor Savings as ROI 

Retail ecosystems and employee roles are evolving: Reduced physical tasks and increasing relevance of technological and social skills, adaptability, and the ability to master various tasks continues to rise. Employees contribute to every facet of your business’s ROI: investing in the success of your employees is investing in the success of your store. 

Providing usable technology is paramount to cultivating labor efficiency. User-friendly UI yields high adoption rates and helps employees feel empowered to handle new processes. Simplifications through tech—such as automating foodservice processes like inventory and ordering—give associates more time to focus on customer service, reduces human error, and streamlines overall operations. 

Appreciating and listening to your employees should go without saying: absorbing feedback and improving is not only good practice, but key to retaining happy associates. McKinsey’s recent State of Grocery reported “Valued by organization,” “Valued by manager,” and “Sense of belonging” as three of the most important factors to employee satisfaction. An associate lacking reassurance and validation of their value as a team member will feel continuously less like helping said operation.  

Appreciated, involved employees stay on; strengthen store success by serving as brand ambassadors; and work hard to maintain a friendly environment for everyone. Invest in your employees—and the return is employees that return, day after day. 

Sustainability as ROI  

Sustainability isn’t just an added bonus these days: it’s an expectation. And as consumers increasingly patronize more sustainable companies, there’s competitive advantage to be gained in embracing and maintaining sustainable strategies. Inmar Intelligence recently reported that a majority of consumers surveyed (68%) care about practicing sustainability in their everyday life. Lose out on those consumers, and lose the return of shopper loyalty through shared values. 

Beyond appeasing socially conscious consumers, the long-term ROI of sustainability are no-brainers: reduction in cost, waste and energy output, boost in operational efficiencies, and positive impact on the environment and food ecosystems in your surrounding communities.  

ROI=Total Store 

Quantitative value propositions mean less without a proven brand. Sale items aren’t as enticing without a friendly, helpful employee behind the counter. High sales won’t be sustainable without practices that attract eco-conscious consumers.  

So: start thinking of more than just the traditional bottom line when you think of ROI. It could be what stands between you and your convenience store’s success. 

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ADC