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June 28, 2018

What is the key to customer retention and loyalty? How can retailers keep their current shoppers and attract new business at a rate faster than they lose business? Retailers may be surprised to learn that success is less about flashy promotions or programs — and more about perfecting the basics.

The Playbook for Success is a three-step guide to growing business, completed recently by the NACS/Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council. (The report — like all council studies — can be downloaded for free at www.ccrrc.org)

The three steps are quite simple: first, deliver on core shopper needs; second, defend your turf; third, attract new business. The formula is perfect for convenience stores, for which the report was designed, as well as any type of business.

To accomplish step one, convenience stores first need to examine how well they are currently delivering on core shopper needs. For instance, do customers feel your store is a safe, clean and bright environment with clean restrooms? Is your location truly convenient, and are key products always in stock? Can shoppers complete their trips quickly and easily and find good value?

Beyond that, is your staff friendly and helpful, and does your store offer a good variety of products?

The Playbook includes simple surveys that you can use to gather feedback from your customers. The responses you collect may help you identify glaring weaknesses that need immediate attention.