How to Win Over the Forecourt Customer

C-store signage isn’t just about promotions—it needs to tell a story.

August 09, 2022

This article is brought to you by Abierto.

ABLogo.pngALEXANDRIA, Va.—One of the biggest challenges that convenience store retailers face is compelling a forecourt customer to enter the store, especially for the first visit. It’s a critical part of an operator’s strategy, as margins are highest on merchandise inside the store. Beyond that, customers who enter the store have a much higher chance of becoming repeat customers and will even drive out of their way to go to a c-store they prefer.

Because convenience retailers know that the store experience is critical to building a loyal customer base, they have been upping their game when it comes to the interior of the store—from clean, modern restrooms and high-end store fixtures to bean-to-cup coffee and gourmet foodservice.

“Retailers have invested heavily in their store interior, and now they have to sell that message to the customer at the forecourt,” said Rick Sales, president of Abierto, a digital and engagement solutions company. “Having the right message reach that customer is critical.”

Many convenience stores use pump toppers (TV screens or static signage), forecourt signs, posters and printed signage on convenience store windows in an attempt to lure customers into the store, but these methods of advertising are ineffective, says Sales. They’re stagnant and not eye-catching, plus they’re hard to see at night.

According to Sales, digital signage is what gets customers into the store.

“Engaging digital signage can bolster your brand and increase foot traffic,” said Sales. “However, retailers shouldn’t use digital signs just to tell the customer what they have in store or what the latest 2-for-1 promotion is. It needs to tell a story.”

Sales pointed to Pennsylvania-based Rutter’s, who utilizes Abierto’s OPEN.LED digital display. The c-store retailer doesn’t just tell customers they have beer inside the store and the latest promotion on it. Instead, Rutter’s has a digital sign that simply says, “My beer cave is at 29 degrees.”

“That is powerful brand messaging,” said Sales. “They’re telling customers, ‘I have a beer cave. It’s cold. It’s well-maintained and stocked. Come see for yourself.’”

“Digital signage will revolutionize your brand if you allow the right signage to tell the right story to get people into your store,’” he added.

How can convenience store retailers tell their story, and what’s the most effective way to do this? Compelling digital signage at the forecourt, like OPEN.LED by Abierto, is the answer.

This is the first installment of a two-part NACS Daily series on how proper digital signage can bolster your brand. Learn more about Abierto.