The fuel business is a competitive industry with over 4500 SMEs running service station operations across the country. On average, 60 - 80 per cent of a fuel station’s revenue comes from fuel. If this is the case then what makes one service station attract more customers than another and how do you stand out from the crowd and attract customers to your business? Interestingly, this starts with mastering the basics. So here are 5 inventive ways to get things going and level up your fuel station.
Separate yourself from the competition
It doesn’t matter where you are, people always love a good deal. So one way to stand out from the crowd is to offer local specials at your service station. These can be tweaked according to location. For example, if you are in an urban area you may want to appeal to the work crowd with a quick lunch deal. If you are in a suburban area you may want to entice them with deals on your staples like sugar and milk. If you appeal to the people around you, loyalty will grow in line with the sales.
Work on your appearance
A lively, well-kept fuel station creates a good impression. This starts with a tidy and well-lit environment that is appealing at all hours of the day and night. Taking care of your surroundings is also important as much of the service station is outside and the immediate environment will reflect on your operation. So things like clean pavements and manicured flower beds are important. It is worth investing in professional services to maintain these areas. Staff should also be well dressed and feel approachable. Even if you are quiet, staff should be encouraged to keep busy with organising the general area as stagnated activity will repel potential customers.
Partner with businesses nearby
By partnering with businesses in the area you will increase your chance of attracting traffic. Perhaps you can join up with a nearby tourist attraction where you can offer a discount off admission. This will bring in a steady flow of new visitors. Alternatively, work with local restaurants to offer more exciting food offerings to your fuel station.
Advertising goes a long way
You cannot expect to passively draw in new customers. Locally targeted campaigns on social media are a great way to zero in on customers in your area and remind them to buy fuel, visit for special offers or cash in on loyalty programs. This can also be done in simple ways like creating eye-catching signage and updating the point of sale regularly with new offers. This will keep your retail space fresh and will invite customers back for the next deal.
Customer service is king
Ensure that all staff are kind and courteous, with good intentions. Nothing ruins a retail experience like bad service. Your staff need to make your customers feel welcomed and valued. Fuel representatives like SAPRA actually offer upskilling in these areas and are a good resource for training and development. Also, ensure you are regularly conducting customer feedback surveys to make sure you have a clear picture of what is happening on the floor. Always keep in mind that a happy customer holds the potential to become a loyal customer.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, service stations are just like any other retail business. In order to maximise return you have to start with the basics and really build up from there. Within these basic areas there are many ways to get creative and when done right, will be incredibly rewarding.
Want to level-up your fuel station? Contact us to discuss your funding requirements today!