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Five Ways to Turn Your Truckstop Into a Treasure Truck of Sales

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail

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Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Five Ways to Turn Your Truckstop Into a Treasure Truck of Sales 

I am certain many of you have heard about the Amazon Treasure Truck. (Yes, it appears that the launch has been delayed, but I thought the idea was important to discuss.)

For those of you that are not aware of what it is, Treasure Truck is a deals program that allows people to buy a heavily discounted item through Amazon’s mobile app and then pick it up from the truck at a designated location. The launch had as an example an inflatable stand-up paddleboard set for $99 rather than the normal $475. Amazon was planning to launch the truck in Seattle.

Now you may scoff at this idea, but you can buy cellular accessories, antennae, CB’s, two-way radios, clothes, radar detectors, etc. from Amazon. What would stop Amazon from putting these on the truck? What would stop our core customer from ordering from the Treasure Truck and picking it up as he fueled or even as he waited out his hours of service? I think you get the point.

If you are not already on the offensive, it is time to start.

As the world gets smaller and time more fleeting, competition for our customers flat to shrinking available spend is growing.

Let’s take advantage of our lots, our space to energize our locations. Let’s get back to becoming destinations of the local and traveling public.

First identify the day of the week where you can capitalize on your traffic counts such as the weekend buying frenzying that is typical retail and then GET CREATIVE with your sales.

Here are some ideas to you started.

  1. Develop a relationship with a mobile donut shop. Allow them a small spot on your lot for a fee to greet your Monday, Friday and weekend traffic with fresh made-on-the-spot donuts.

  2. Turn your annual driver’s appreciation events into more frequent events. Certainly not as big or lavish as your annual event, but hold small events to drive traffic and create fun. Ideas include:
    • Remote-control truck racing competition;
    • Donate X for charity to dunk the manager in a tank of water;
    • X-Box and Playstation competitions; and
    • Morning hula hooping workout with the manager.

  3. Build a coffee stand on your lot. We have a member that has one and is very pleased with the results. I have seen many in parking lots, shopping centers, shopping malls, grocery stores,  superstores and recently in front of a bank.

  4. Develop Friends and Family events to take advantage of your local community.

  5. Build a shaved ice stand on your lot. Nothing brings back memories like shaved ice and snow cones. If you do not want to give space on your lot up, how about invite the local ice cream truck to take up residence Friday or Saturday evenings?

Stay tuned! I'll share five more ideas next month.

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/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.