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NATSO Blog: Marketing & Retail

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Create Holiday Fun Throughout the Year to Boost Sales at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

I am a fan of holiday and seasonal programs. I’d like to challenge all NATSO members to create memorable seasonal and holiday programs for the entire year. Holiday and seasonal shopping continues to be big retail success, and it is not just Christmas and winter that are successful. Whether it is tax-free days, singles day, Easter, summer drive, etc., many are becoming really, really big retail days.

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Summer is Coming, Is Your Travel Plaza Ready?

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

I know there is still frost on the ground in some parts of the country and thoughts of summer may be tucked into the back of your mind, but in retail it is never too early to start thinking about upcoming sales opportunities. So many retailers found themselves unprepared when the cold snap hit the East Coast and missed valuable sales opportunities. Don’t let the same thing happen with summer sales!

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Make the Concept of Electronic Shelf Tags Work for You at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Use of electronic shelf tags is on the rise. During a NATSO Study Tour in Europe, we saw electronic shelf tags in action. They have become much, much more common in Europe and are headed this way. Electronic shelf tags have several benefits, and the main idea is that you can change the pricing multiple times each day in a matter of seconds.

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Grow Sales at Your Travel Center with an Apparel Program

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Do you have an apparel program? If you do, are you doing all you can with it? If you don’t, it is time to get in this category. Apparel, when done correctly in our industry, can have margins of 50 to 100 percent profit depending on what types of products you’re selling and what you buy.

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Review Holiday Sales to Uncover New Opportunities at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

The fourth quarter and holiday season has come and gone, and now that the dust has settled, it is a great time to review how things went. Holiday sales at many retailers exceeded expectations. Was that the case for you? Were you prepared or are there things you wish you’d done differently?

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Truckstop Travels: Lessons from the Road

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

I am so fortunate to get to visit truckstops and travel plazas across the country and see first-hand the ways NATSO members are serving their communities. As we have noted before, operators are witnessing a rapid pace of change and many are responding with new and diverse offerings to attract customers. This need to adapt is not unique to our industry, and during my travels I see first-hand the ways other businesses are reacting to our today’s reality.

We can learn from those outside of our industry in addition to each other. Here are some key trends I am seeing from other businesses working to remain relevant.

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My Top Three Trends from NATSO’s Food and Fuel Tour

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

NATSO’s Food and Fuel Tour offered a field-level look at metro restaurants. As a participant in the study tour, I specifically took away insights on how these innovative foodservice operators are changing how they serve their customers based on millennials.

Millennials are changing the norms of food and beverage consumption as we speak.

Craft Brewing Business reports that 58% of the overall craft beer market is consumed by individuals 35 and younger. Additionally, millennials try 5.1 different craft beer brands per month. This shift in millennial taste preference has resulted in craft brew retail dollar growth of 10% over previous year, as well as craft beer now owning 21.9% share in the beer market.

What does this mean for the truckstop and travel center industry?

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Customize Your Metrics to Drive Performance at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Metrics are a key component of gauging and improving performance, and truckstop and travel plaza operators often wonder what their stores should be doing based on a particular metric. An example of an often used metric that I was just asked about by an industry consultant and an unrelated individual travel center “what should I expect in retail sales for every gallon of diesel pumped? Well, you have to be careful when applying industry metrics to your specific operations. You’re not always comparing apples to apples and you could be underestimating the capability of what your store could do.

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Do Something Different with QSRs at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Food sales at truckstops and travel plazas are a crucial profit center as well as a prime way to draw in travelers. We all know that both professional and passenger drivers like trusted names, and the right quick-service restaurant can also be a way to stand out. I encourage operators to look at the QSRs that are already along their routes and try something different. If you have the same food offerings as everyone else, you will be forced to compete on the price of fuel, but food can make you a destination.

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Chicago’s History as a Food-Trend Leader

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Chicago has a long history of being on the cutting edge of food trends, and NATSO members can get an in-depth, guided look at some of today’s hottest food locations during the NATSO Food and Fuel Tour in Chicago July 18-20.

Today’s trends might take off like these six classic food offerings that were once little-known but up-and-coming offerings within the Windy City.

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