3 Ways to Increase Your C-Store Visibility (No, it doesn’t involve a Wacky Waver)

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In today’s marketplace, it’s not enough to build a store on the right corner or intersection. You also have to be visible online. If consumers can’t find your locations when they open Google Maps, GasBuddy, Waze, use their in-dash navigation systems, or ask Alexa for the nearest gas station, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential visits.

1. Upload Photos to Google Maps

One of the easiest things you can do is upload photos to Google Maps. Not only does this serve as a quality signal to everyone who happens to view your business listings, but photos can generate some serious visibility.

Whether you hire a photographer or use the camera on your phone, leverage this opportunity to highlight what your stores do best. Do you have unique foodservice? Take a few pictures. Did you just renovate the forecourt? Take a picture during the sunrise or sunset.

I’m always surprised by how many retailers fail to do this. I visited a convenience store last year that’s located near a major university. Their kitchen prepares some of the best tenderloins in the state, but unfortunately, no photos had been uploaded to Google Maps. I decided to upload a photo and it already has 7,009 views—presumably from hungry college students.

2. Report Your Fuel Prices on GasBuddy

Recent prices submissions are a quality signal for the 12 millions drivers each month who rely on GasBuddy. Not only is that information helpful, but it boosts visibility by making a station appear popular. Busy stations would naturally have more people reporting prices.

When drivers see stations that lack pricing, they often wonder if there’s a reason why people aren’t visiting.

Fixing this is easy. When you change your prices, open the GasBuddy app and report them. Although GasBuddies love to report fuel prices—more than 1.85 million prices were submitted daily in Q4 2018—retailers should actively manage this task internally.

3. Update Your Station Listings on the Major Search Platforms

Navigation apps have made it easier than ever to locate local businesses. Google Maps, Apple Maps, GasBuddy, Waze—consumers export the decision-making process to their smartphones. Standing out is essential. According to Uberall, 60% of smartphone users say they’re very likely to click on the first two or three search results.

Unfortunately, many fuel and convenience retailers have not cleaned and updated their listings on the major search platforms. This causes confusion for customers, and conflicting information can also result in Google deprioritizing their stations.

GasBuddy helps many leading retailers address this issue. We leveraged our nearly two decades of industry experience to build the only listings management solution designed specifically for fuel and convenience retailers. Not only does this include updates on GasBuddy, but we also push accurate station listings to Google Maps, in-dash navigation systems, and other platforms.

In a new GasBuddy report, we examine the uplift in search activity and visibility that retailers have achieved by updating their listings.

  • One major fuel brand saw a 63% increase in Google Maps users getting directions to their stations.
  • Another major retailer achieved a 30X return on their investment—as measured by fuel transactions through the Pay With GasBuddy card.

Of course you can always invest in a sign spinner or Wacky Waver, but I think we have a better way to increase visibility. To learn more or view a demo, contact us at [email protected].

Analyst/Evangelist, Convenience Store and Retail Trends

Frank Beard is a noted speaker, writer, and industry advocate who serves as GasBuddy's analyst/evangelist of convenience store and retail trends. His insights have been featured in publications such as NPR, USA Today, People.com, and the Washington Post. Beard has presented at the NACS Show, Outlook Leadership, the Partnership for a Healthier America's 2017 Summit, and numerous regional and corporate events.

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