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NATSO Blog: Marketing & Retail

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How to Use Billboards to Drive Your Travel Center's Profits Up

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Next time you drive down the Interstate to your facility, look at your signage from the point-of-view of a customer who is visiting for the very first time. Signage is a crucial piece of your business as it serves as an invitation for a customer to stop into your site versus your competitors’ sites!

Interstate billboards give you exposure to large numbers of travelers every day and night. I believe that this is one of the most effective forms of advertising.

Billboard Pricing and ROI
Billboards range in price. Small non-illuminated units may cost $150 to $350 per month. Large illuminated billboards can range from $1,500 to $4,000 per month or more depending on traffic counts and several other factors such as the number of units available in the market, demand for those units and if it is a left- or right-hand read...

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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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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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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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Holiday Retail Sales are Important: Nine Ideas for What Your Truckstop Could Stock for the Holidays

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

As I type this we have 56 days until Christmas. If you have not ordered your LED Christmas Lights for drivers to hang on their trucks you may already be out of luck. What about that bag with a handful of charcoal briquettes inside strategically placed on the counter and sold for a buck or so? Everyone loves to get a bag of coal for Christmas. If you do not have Christmas and other holiday gifts and products in the store already, get on the phone now and get them ordered.

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Holiday Retail Sales Are Important at Truckstops Too

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

I had the pleasure in the past three weeks to visit with owners and managers of a combination of 18 new and current member locations. I saw awesome stores with a lot of exciting happenings. I was, however, surprised to see how few of the operations had yet to prepare for the Halloween holiday let alone Christmas. We will talk Christmas on the next blog.

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6 More Tips to Better Serve RV Customers at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

After a NATSO member asked me how she could drive more RV traffic to her travel center, I sat down with a friend who has spent the better part of four years and accumulated more than 100,000 miles traveling the country in a diesel-powered pickup towing a 30-foot travel trailer to learn more about his life on the road.

He shared his experiences and made some recommendations for how truckstops and travel plazas could better serve RVers.

He had a lot of great stuff to share! Here are seven more recommendations on how to attract and serve RV traffic.

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