Operating a corner store can be a lucrative and rewarding but sometimes-dangerous venture. It’s recommended that you be a people person if you are thinking of entering into corner store ownership. Here are some tips from a corner store owner on how you can utilize great customer service to win over your neighborhood, get plenty of repeat customers, and not get stabbed by all of the insane drunk people that hang out outside your store.
Pay attention to your customers’ body language
The best way to figure out what kind of mood your customers are in is to pay attention to their body language. If they have a relaxed posture, lean in when they speak, and make pleasant eye contact then they are showing positive body language. This is good because it means that they’re in a good mood and may be a bit more chatty. Generally these people are less likely to stab you.
If they look tense and a bit cagey and are attempting to conceal their identity with a disguise, be alert because you might be getting stabbed. Try to get them out of the store as quickly as possible by yelling obscenities. If they reach into their jacket and you have any doubt at all about their motives, fire your shotgun at them indiscriminately.
Suggest pairings to go with your customers’ purchases
In addition to starting a conversation with your customers about what they’re buying, you should also try to get them to add on other purchases that might be similar. This is exactly how Amazon has made billions of dollars. Every other type of retail business generally tries to stock items right next to one another, but in this corner store business you want to make sure that any items even remotely similar are as far away as possible from one another. If, for example, a customer brings up a frozen burrito, say something like “frozen burrita huh? Don’t forget the toilet paper which is right in the back next to the cat food.”
Start casual conversations with your customers
If they’re being chatty ask them how their day is going and ask them if they found everything they needed. Take this opportunity also to comment on everything that they’re purchasing. In case you’re not the chatty type, here are some different items that they may have purchased matched with some conversation starters that you can lead off with:
Set up the impulse buys section properly
Corner stores can sometimes get a long line going at checkout since there is only one register. Also sometimes contributing to long lines are the local drunks with their slow, sluggish thoughts and movements and their purchasing habits. You should set up an appealing impulse buys section near the register so that your customers have items to browse while the drunks fish out their change to buy another steel reserve high gravity can. You’ll want to stock the area with candies, beef jerky, and lighters. You should have advertisements for alcohol and cigarettes randomly placed around the register because even though 90% of your customers are there to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, the other 10% may not realize that you sell those products at the store. Finally I like to always make sure I have a jar of pigs feet near the register. The suckling pigs feet will make your waiting customers disturbed and so they will be likely to buy more booze.
Use technology as a tool to help you with customer service
Keep an iPad in the store so that you can keep your regular customer’s information on file. Try to keep their names, email addresses, phone numbers, photos and social media information stored on the iPad. You can use this information to track their shopping behavior so that you know what items to keep in stock. If you have regular female customers, ask them if it’s alright if you keep track of their monthly cycle using menstrual tracking applications. You can let her know that you will make sure that you have plenty of tampons and chocolates in stock at the right times.