With the continued spread of data breeches, consumers are seeking any way to keep their personal information and money safe and protected. The EMV card, a.k.a. “smartcard,” incorporates the newest data protection technology, embedding an encrypted microprocessor chip in the plastic payment card. Unfortunately for retailers, these EMV cards require specialized terminals with smartcard readers and updated software.
Traditional credit/credit cards possess only a magnetic strip that when swiped all sensitive data is copied to the terminal. This un-coded, vulnerable data can be stolen by hacking into the terminal’s database or capturing the info through a “skimming device.” EMV is a major upgrade because it adds a microchip to the payment card that acts as a small computer, validating the authenticity of the card and the cardholder while off-line and generating coded data that changes with every transaction. Even if the data is stolen, it would not work because the coded data is always changing and never re-used.
To “encourage acceptance” of the new technology in the EMV cards, the major card companies are shifting the liability of certain fraudulent transactions from the card company to the retailer. In essence, if the retailer does not have the equipment that will interact with the EMV chip, the retailer will be responsible for all fraudulent transactions. This policy by the card companies is scheduled to take place effective October 2015 for all transactions inside the store, and October 2017 for all transactions taking place at the pump.
In today’s on-the-go lifestyle, consumers have sought instant gratification from cents off gas, buy-one-get-one products and scratch-off lottery tickets. Energy drinks are the latest convenience trend offering customers what they want – quick relief from mental and physical fatigue. Hundreds of products are available each with their own unique blend of ingredients in ready-to-drink, shot and powdered form. Energy drinks contain caffeine in combination with other presumed energy-enhancing ingredients such as taurine, ginseng, guarana, yerba mate, herbal extracts and B vitamins. They are tailored to invite every type of consumer with countless flavors and varieties, providing the consumer an immediate and detectable shot of stimulation. Retailers are devoting more shelf space to energy drinks as they are steadily outperforming carbonated soft drinks in sales and are delivering healthier profits. The popularity and continued growth in sales can be attributed to the diverse range of new & innovative varieties, which does not appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Increased sales occurs either through expanding your customer base or getting more business from your existing customers. Customer growth is a huge undertaking and is invariably expensive. Therefore it is imperative to get your existing customers to buy more on each trip or buy more frequently.
If you expect customers to be loyal, then you must show them how determined and committed you are to your own business to earn their business. It is important to surround yourself with competent, customer-friendly employees that will follow in your footsteps. Keeping a quality staff is imperative to keeping a loyal customer base. Mentor them to do as you say and do as you do.
Keep the exterior of your location up to par, sweep up those cigarette butts, clean the windows and take care of any gas spills. Have a logical store layout and maintain organization, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Customers do not want to waste time hunting for what they need. Make sure the shelves are clean and fully stocked. Half empty shelves and dusty products do not make a very good impression. Greet customers promptly when they enter your store. Learn and use their name. Once you are acquainted, ask them how they are, what is happening with their live and families, etc. Learn what they buy and offer new products and merchandise you feel will appeal to them. Building a genuine relationship with your customers will make it hard for them to shop anywhere else.
Thinking about branding? A brand creates the feeling of familiarity and comfort in the minds of the consumer, leading to a confidence about the quality of your product and location. An alliance with a strong and enduring brand gives you preferred access to exceptional products, services, promotions and advertising. The following are some of the benefits of branding:
- Your business will get a vibrant face-lift, improving its curb appeal.
- By signing a contract under a brand, you will have access to reliable supply and competitive pricing on fuel.
- Branding gives you access to top-of-the-line equipment and cutting edge technology along with built-in customer support.
- Your gasoline will no longer be perceived as “generic”. Like it or not, many consumers trust branded gasoline more than unbranded. They believe branded fuel is of higher quality, passes higher EPA standards, and is worthy of a higher price tag. Some of the bigger brands go a step further in attracting these customers by highlighting the additives included in their proprietary blended gasoline, (for example, BP with Invigorate® and Citgo with TriClean®).
- You will be authorized to offer the brand’s credit card, rewards and gift cards, as well as corporate fleet cards and programs, all of which save you on card processing fees.
- Branded advertising campaigns increase visibility and exposure for your station. Targeted advertising on cable and broadcast TV, radio, internet, billboards and digital ads drive customers to your location.
- Choosing to brand your station can open the door to a variety of philanthropic efforts, volunteer activities and educational support programs. Major brands offer programs and support initiatives to give back to their communities, for example, BP Fueling Communities, The Valero Foundation, The Citgo Fueling Good Program and The Sunoco Foundation. Such programs provide assistance to enable you to take a leadership role in your community.
- Your branded location can be found on most GPS devices and search maps.
5. Agreement (8) [CONTRACT]
6. Steal (4) [SKIM]
8. People (9) [COMMUNITY]
11. Deceit (5) [FRAUD]
12. Self-reliant (11) [INDEPENDENT]
13. Bonus (6) [REWARD]
14. Pump (9) [DISPENSER]
15. Legally responsible (6) [LIABLE]
16. Changing (7) [DYNAMIC]
17. Pay at the ____ (4) [PUMP]
18. Taste (6) [FLAVOR]
20. Triumph (7) [SUCCESS]
24. Name (5) [BRAND]
26. Chance (7) [LOTTERY]
28. Light meal (5) [SNACK]
29. Cover (6) [CANOPY]
1. Clever (10) [INNOVATIVE]
2. Assortment (7) [VARIETY]
3. Built-in chip (9) [SMARTCARD]
4. Buyer (8) [CONSUMER]
5. Easy (10) [CONVENIENT]
7. Allegiance (7) [LOYALTY]
9. Plain (7) [GENERIC]
10. Oil (9) [PETROLEUM]
11. Counterfeit (4) [FAKE]
13. Trusted (8) [RELIABLE]
14. Un-alike (7) [DIVERSE]
19. Curb _____ (6) [APPEAL]
21. Food ______ (7) [SERVICE]
22. Unit (6) [GALLON]
23. Sweets (5) [CANDY]
25. RTD= Ready To _____ (5) [DRINK]
27. Tendency (5) [TREND]