7 Common Types of Customers in Convenience Stores, Gas Stations, and Retail Stores and How to Treat Them

Intro

When you own/work at a convenience store, gas station, liquor store, or any other type of retail store, you’re going to deal with an array of different personalities. It’s your job to treat them to great customer service and understanding each personality will help you with that task. It will help you immensely if you can quickly recognize the type of shopper you have in your retail store at any given time and be able to treat them accordingly. You’re in business to serve others, so being able to treat people appropriately should be a huge priority. How you deal with a certain customer can make the difference between a customer who feels satisfied with the transaction and one who vows never to patronize your business again.

The Regulars

Your regulars are your favorite customers. They will usually have one type of product that they always come in for, may it be a pack of cigarettes, alcohol, or anything else. They will get their usual product and possibly other things like gas or a Gatorade. For your regulars, their trip to your retail store is routine. These customers keep your business afloat and you should make sure that they feel valued and reminded why they always come back. Giving these customers some sort of small gift, like a free coffee every once in a while could make them feel a bond to your convenience store, gas station, or liquor store. Additionally, you should consider having some sort of loyalty program, so these customers can feel rewarded for their loyalty to your business and it also incentives frequent returns to your store. Another benefit of a loyalty program is that it could make other customers regulars if the benefits are good enough. Overall, you must be doing something right with these customers because they’re always coming back.

The Neighbor

For this category of customers, your retail store is their community center. They most likely live down the block and they’re often on a first-name basis with all employees. Their trip to your convenience store, gas station, or liquor store is a ritualistic part of their day. If you have owned your business for a long time, you have known many of these shoppers for a long time. For example, when I first purchased my gas station there was this couple with a young son, 15 years later and the couple and their son still come into my business and they feel like family to me. Many of these customers could also be regulars, but usually their purchase size is much smaller, they will come in for just one item because your right next door to their house, maybe a coke or a snickers. Not only do they come to your retail store for convenience, but they love the feeling of familiarity. They want to feel important and they cherish the sense of community and neighborhood.

The Shopper on a Mission/ In and Out

Your spouse call you and says “can you grab milk on your way home?” You are now this type of customer. These customers already know what they want and they intent to just get in and get out of your retail store. They are largely driven by the home front and a need for a last-minute and very specific item. They rarely look at the clerk or others shopping. You want to make the checkout fast and convenient for this type of customer. If you spot any problems, like having long checkout lines often, think about adding a backup register, to have another employee help and get the line moving. Overall, the best thing to do with this type of shopper is to simply get out of their way. If they have questions give the short straight up answers and don’t try to up sell them.

The Bargain Hunter

The most important factor for this type of customer is the price. When deciding on multiple products, the bargain hunter will almost always pick the cheaper option. They’re after the lowest price and they’re willing to shop around to find it.These customers have no brand loyalty and will side with the company running a promotion at that time. When this type common type of customer comes into your retail store let them know of all promotions and deals. Additionally, you want to make sure they feel like they’re getting a good deal when they’re at your business and to best handle the bargain hunter, find ways to add value to the entire experience. If the bargain hunter doesn’t want to buy your products at a given time and wants to shop around, make sure you get their information, such as their email address. You want to be able to inform them of sales or promotions you may be running in the future.

Indecisive Shopper

Often times when shoppers come into your retail store, they have no idea what they’re looking for. These types of customers don’t know if they wanna get the Diet Coke or Gatorade, they can’t decide between the Snickers or Twix. Often, the indecisive shopper has trouble deciding because either they don’t have enough information, or have too much and they’re overwhelmed. You want to approach these customers with care, try not to come across as pushy or trying to make a sale. Let them know of any specials you may be running and offer them help if they have any questions. You want to simplify the concerns for this type of shopper. Instead of persuading and enticing the customer into buying your products, help them build trust in you and your business so in the future they will continue to come back to you.

The Social Shopper

The type of customer is great to have at all gas stations, convenience stores, and liquor stores. They are friendly and interested in your business, even though sometimes they might talk too much. Sometimes when your having a bad day these customers come in and will lighten the mood. You should take genuine interest in what they’re saying and listen to their stories, even when they may be boring. If you don’t have time for this customer, or you need to focus on other customers, find a polite way to diffuse the conversation and move on. You and your Associates should look customers in the eye, smile, and say something like “I would so love to talk to you more about this, but I see someone else who needs my help too. I will check back in with you, OK? Thanks for being here.” It’s OK to remind them that you have other work to do, or there are customers waiting. People can tell if your making up an excuse, honesty is always the best policy.

The Angry and Demanding Shopper

Have you ever had that one customer that you could tell was in a bad mood and was ready to explode at any time? The angry and demanding shoppers are the irrational customers that are looking for any reason to be upset. Of course, there are valid complaints a customer can have and those are easy to deal with. You can easily find a solution that will make both you and your customer happy, but with this type of customer, that is very difficult. It’s important to be understanding, listen well, and stay calm. Try your best not to show any emotion at all, as hard as that might be. Ask the angry customer what they think would be a fair solution, but offer the best solution you see fit.  Don’t feel obligated to go above and beyond. This type of shoppers often looking to force deals, or even trying to take advantage of you. Try not to take these interactions personally, these customers are most likely displeased with the performance of your products, which you don’t really have any control over.

Conclusion

So what type of personalities do you see the most of? Do you have any other tips to dealing with any of these shoppers? Identifying which type of shopper you get the most of could help you optimize different strategies for your business, whether it’s for a marketing campaign or maybe just training your employees. Either way, it’s important to stay active in improving your convenience store, gas station, liquor store, or any other type of retail store in every way possible. If you enjoyed our article, also check out our other article, How to Pick the Best Employees for Convenience Stores, Gas Stations, and Retail Stores in 2020.

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