ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Why are connections so important in convenience retail? “I always say your net worth is your network,” said Bassem Nowyhed, convenience store franchise owner and founder of Invig Consulting, on this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Connections are Crucial for Successful Retailers.”
“It just takes one person and one opportunity for your whole world to switch for doors and opportunities. … Some of my best relationships have been from customers that have come into the store.”
Connections can help with finding employees, too. “Our top employees have come from existing employees,” he said. He gave an example of an employee at one of his ampm stores named Flo, who joined the team by way of a family friend. She didn’t know much English when she started, “but she had such an optimistic attitude, such high energy, and she treated the store like it was hers,” Nowyhed said. “Customers would come in solely to just have a conversation with her.” Flo is now a store manager “because she had such a strong, genuine effort of wanting to take care of the store, wanting to take up this business and wanting to help other employees be better.”
Like many retailers, Nowyhed faces challenges connecting with people.
“The way we run our operations is to make life a game,” he said, adding that he highly recommends the book Actionable Gamification. He has put the principles of that book into play in his stores by having short-term and long-term goals with levels along the way.
“All my employees are working 15 times harder. They’re upselling all the time” because of the goals we give them, Nowyhed said.
Nowyhed also discussed how to find the newest products for his customers.
“Be a customer,” he said. “Customer service is my No. 1 thing. … Don’t try to be in this arena if you can’t even be a customer in it. So, for me, what I identified during this whole digital wave and just 2020, is that there’s a new convenience that has popped up. The convenience of driving into an ampm—quick grab-and-go is now.”
Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 280 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded more than a quarter million times by listeners around the world.