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Master a One-Day Sale with These 16 Tips

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



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

Master a One-Day Sale with These 16 Tips

One-day sales can be a great way to add excitement to a truckstop and travel plaza locations and spike sales. During the most recent Operational Exchange phone call we discussed the role one-day sales can play during seasonal and/or holiday special events. After the call I received a handful of follow-up questions asking for more details on the concept of a one-day sale, which made me realize operators could use some standard operating procedure guidelines to follow when creating such an event. Here are tips to consider before during and after the event:

Before the Event:


  1. Begin with a goal. You should always have a purpose when creating a one-day sale and follow a standardized policy and procedure for the event. The policy and procedures should be a living document that you fine tune to along the way to maximize the profitability of the event.

  2. Establish specific hours for the sale. One-day sales should begin and end on time. No exceptions! The hours should be very specific, such as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for example.

  3. Create a schedule. The person leading retail operations, whether that be the owner, the director of operations and merchandising or the store manager, should establish a schedule of planned one-day sale events seasonally and/or annually.

  4. The person leading the retail operations should determine the percentage off for the promotional period. For example, many retailers offer 15 percent off the lowest ticketed price during a one-day event.

  5. Said person should preview the scheduled one-day sales for the month and decide whether to proceed with the scheduled one-day event or cancel. If you have multiple locations this can be done on a site-by-site basis. This is critical because the results should be reviewed for sales success and profitability.

  6. Understand which day is your best purchasing day. When do you have the highest average retail ticket?  When are people actually shopping your location? Remember, this is not always your busiest day—highest diesel fuel gallon days do not always equal highest retail sales days. We have many members where Saturday is by far their highest retail sales day and their lowest diesel gallon day.

  7. Said person will establish sales goals for their site, these goals should be shared and results should be published for team to review. If you hit your goals, celebrate.

  8. Be specific with the categories you choose to support during your one-day sale. For example, the following categories are the only ones to be discounted the 15 percent during a one-day sales event: apparel, gift/novelty, trucker accessories and electronics. 

  9. Review sale parameters with staff. It is critical that team members understand the procedure of how the discount would work. In this example, the 15 percent is taken off of the items price including if the item is already on promotion. 

  10. Review inventory. One to two weeks prior to the one-day sale, Identify excessive or obsolete inventory targeted to be sold during the One Day Sale.  Submit price changes if needed.

  11. Place necessary orders. Check inventory levels on high-demand sales items and order to properly accommodate one-day-sale projections.

  12. Schedule staffing to accommodate sales event.  If your location has multiple managers and supervisors, they should be scheduled to work for some portion of the saleevent.  Assign employees to specific tasks, i.e. greet customers, bag merchandise, wrap merchandise, work the mall area if you use it for additional sales, merchandise floor sales, cashier, etc.

  13. Create professional signage and collateral. Spend money on a program that you will be able to utilize numerous times, one that when done correctly will generate retail sales that you have never even thought possible in a travel plaza location. I can provide samples for those that would like to see them. Remember, flyers must be made from colored or neon colored construction paper. 

  14. Utilizie Social Media. Prepare graphics and images to promote your event on the special day on social media. Look for examples from the retails you visit. Sugar Shack donuts in Old Town Alexandria near NATSO's office, for example, does a great job of promoting their facebook page

  15. Ensure that all point-of-purchase materials are at the location. Rushing and/or creating hand written signage will only diminish your event.

  16. Consider additional activities. Add-on activities that can create excitement surrounding the sale are welcome and should be encouraged. These events items such as special attractions—Bud Girls, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, blood drives, Amber Alert registration, raffles, door prizes, refreshments and games.

Stay tuned! In my next blog post, I'll share what to do the before and the day of the sale. 

/// 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.