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{Great Ideas} How Gum Can Increase Your Truckstop Retail Sales

Posted in: Great Ideas, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators. The author, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s new vice president of membership, brings to NATSO a wealth of knowledge about our industry.

Join Darren here every other Thursday for his biweekly retail column.

{Great Ideas} How Gum Can Increase Your Truckstop Retail Sales

In my discussions with locations looking to increase their retail sales, raising prices is frequently suggested as a potential tactic. This desire to raise prices is especially common when the location feels it has either exhausted its efforts or is unwilling to do other things to increase traffic. 

The problem with arbitrarily raising prices is the increases are often done with no regard to the market and thus frequently impact a location’s value perception negatively. 

A multitude of different strategies exist to increase sales other than raising prices just for the sake of increasing sales. For example, we spoke about the importance and impact of suggestive selling before. This is one strategy. 

Today, let’s look at three simple ideas to increase retail sales using product placement and promotional strategy, all using gum sales as their example:

1. Offer multi-packs rather than single packs at the transaction counter. 
For example, if you are selling gum at the transaction counter, do not offer 35-cent packs of gum for your customers to purchase. Instead, offer the larger multi-packs. People who want gum will purchase gum. If you offer the 35-cent packs of gum in this prime area, you are enabling the customer to trade down.

2. Ban the 35-cent gum. Actually, don’t offer 35-cent packs of gum in your candy, gum and mint section. Do not allow this trade down to take place.

3. Match your same brand multi-pack gum retails as close as possible. Do not use supplier generated retails. If you do, you will find the retails of 15 stick multi-pack gum ranging from $1.19 to $1.99+. It is common to see Orbit 15 stick multi-pack gum priced $1.39 to $1.89 within the candy, gum and mint set solely due to the flavor of the gum.

For many of our members this is certainly a price increase, but if this tactic is implemented from the beginning, you can avoid additional price increases for quite some time.

Additionally, by matching your multi-pack gum retails at a minimum by brand you eliminate confusion for the customer trying to decipher all the different retails, you improve your marketing message, you eliminate trade downs and you increase your sales!

Some members have taken this approach even a step further by pricing all their multi-pack gums the exact same retail regardless of brand, just like we all do with small and king size candy bars. This makes the message even that much cleaner.

Use these ideas to spark further growth. A robust review of your product placement and pricing strategy with a focus of growing share of wallet will increase your retail sales without having to raise prices.


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


Join the conversation! How do you price your gum?

Or have a different retail merchandising, marketing or operations question? Post your question in the comments and Darren will answer it in the next Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators.

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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.