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Five Retail Trends Your Truckstop Should Be Adapting to and Exercises to Explore Them

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

In preparation for NATSO Connect, I took a fresh look at the trends influencing the industry. Truckstops and travel plazas should be adapting to each of these trends.

Number 1: Rise of Experiential Retail
According to the article, “The old model of in-store (and even online) retail strictly focused on products being sold. However, consumers have slowly but surely been moving away from strictly shopping for products, instead seeking a more engaging experience”.

The trend was originally driven by younger consumers and their preference for experiences over price and product, however that no longer just the case. Young and old are less likely to spend money in places where the experience is poor regardless of how great the prices are. There is a growing feeling that my money is worth something and if I plan on spending it better be a worthwhile experience.

“Even so, simply remodeling a store isn’t enough,” the article continues. Nearly 5,000 stores closed in 2018 and some experts believe another 4,000 are expected to close their doors in 2019, and “the brands that do survive will have done so by creating engrossing experiences”.

What Should You Do:

Get a pencil and pad of paper.
Identify your three busiest diesel fuel gallon times and days.
Schedule an extra employee on these days.
Create a mini menu for breakfast and lunch of grab-n-go foods.
During these identified times, the extra employee armed with proper safety gear should ask drivers while they are fueling if they can get them anything to eat and drink such as a breakfast burrito and coffee and or a PBJ with chips and milk.
This will create a positive experience.

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Highlights from NATSO Connect 2019

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Truckstop and travel plaza operators came together in Orlando, Florida, for NATSO Connect 2019 and left inspired and informed. So many amazing things came out of the annual event. Here are a six highlights.

Insight Into the Future
We all want to know what the future holds, and much of NATSO Connect focused on helping operators prepare for the trends and technology that are coming down the pipeline.

During one keynote, NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings sat down with Dave Manning, president of TCW Inc. and Immediate Past Chairman of the American Trucking Associations as well as Dan Murray, vice president of the American Transportation Research Institute, to discuss the latest trends affecting truck drivers. Attendees got a first-hand look at how hours-of-service requirements, electronic logging devices and e-commerce are all changing professional drivers’ operating environment.

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Adding Biodiesel to Your Truckstop is an Easy, Proven Revenue Driver

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

It’s common for those of us in the biodiesel business to get questions from truckstop operators about whether offering our fuel requires expensive infrastructure changes, like new tanks, piping and more. Fortunately for everyone, the answer is no.

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NATSO Connect Coca Cola Presentation Shares Signage & Product Positioning Ideas to Boost Beverage Sales

Posted in: Truckstop Business

Those within the truckstop and travel plaza industry know that beverages and the cold vault make up a significant portion of travel plaza and truckstop sales, and research from Coca-Cola shows that beverages are often the catalyst for a stop in the first place.

“Beverages are the No. 1 reason for a trip to the store and account for more than one in four trips,” said J.T. McMahan, senior sales manager for Coca-Cola. McMahan made the remarks while sharing the latest innovate research from the beverage powerhouse during a presentation at NATSO Connect 2018.

However, 74 percent of gas customers leave without buying anything, which makes it important to find ways to capture their attention.

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NATSO Staff Share Product Mix Tips at AMBEST

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Stocking the right product mix is central to not only meeting customers’ needs but also growing sales. NATSO has created a Product Mix To-Go Toolkit to help truckstop and travel plaza operators identify the right products for their locations.

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Maximize Your Vendor Relationships and Product Sales with These Three Tips from NATSO Connect

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Vendors are valuable partners can help truckstop and travel plaza operators learn more about industry trends, category performance and promotional plans. During NATSO Connect 2018’s Good-to-Great Workshop, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, shared several ways operators can get the most out of their vendor relationships.

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Four Ways to Improve Employee Retention Shared During NATSO Connect

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Human Resources

Retaining top employees not only improves customer service and overall morale, it can save money, too. It costs about $4,000 every time an employee walks out the door, with employers having to pay to recruit new hires, fill the spot and train new employees.

“If you keep your employee, you keep your money,” said Heather Meade, a consultant with Ernst & Young and a leader of NATSO’s HR Share Group. Meade and Ernst & Young’s Tara Bradshaw spoke during NATSO Connect 2018 and shared several concrete ideas for retaining top talent.

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Five Food-Service Lessons From NATSO Connect 2018

Posted in: Truckstop Business, The NATSO Show, Operations

Food and fuel are two of the top things truckstops and travel plazas are known for, and an effective food-service program takes work. During NATSO Connect 2018, food expert Michael Ouimet of Ouimet Consulting Group shared his expertise during the Good to Great Workshop. Here are five quick tips he shared during the event.

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Three Categories of Products RVs Need at Your Truckstop Right Now

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

We typically associate warm summer months with camping and road trips, but you might be surprised at the number of RVs hitting the highways around the holidays. In addition to those who travel and live in their RVs full-time and the predictable caravan of snowbirds traveling south for the New Year, the holidays also provide a great excuse for more casual users to drag their rig out for vacation or bring their own accommodations when visiting family and friends. Now is a good time to promote the RV-friendly products you sell year round, as well as some holiday- and cold-weather specific ones.

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Busy Bee is On-Point with Apparel

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Apparel can be a lucrative profit center for NATSO members that invest in the category. Elizabeth Waring, president of Johnson & Johnson Inc., which operates Busy Bee locations, sat down with NATSO to share her thoughts on how she is making the most of apparel and the value it brings to her customers.

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