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Seven Tips for Selling at Your Truckstop's Transaction Counter

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

Seven Tips for Selling at Your Truckstop's Transaction Counter 

Your transaction counter is one of the most important touch points that you have in your operation.

It is frequently the first and last thing your customers see upon entering and leaving your operation. It is valuable and every single truckstop and travel plaza should treat it as premium space.

Here are seven thoughts to consider when choosing what to put in that space:

  1. What you are trying to convey to customers when choosing items for the transaction counter?

  2. Think about the product mix on and around the transaction counter. Is it the right mix?

  3. Most transaction counters have candy placed on them. Consider focusing on large bars 
vs. small bars on the counter so that the customer cannot make a trade down. (See Drive Truckstop Retail Sales Through Larger Product Sizes for more on this.)

  4. High-­margin items with solid gross margin return-­on-­investment should be a 
driving force in deciding what products are placed on and around the transaction counter. How does yours compare?

  5. Be wary of too much product. It sends the wrong message to your customers. Trying to 
use every available open space can create clutter and customer confusion. Are there items you can clear from your space that would make it more effective?

  6. Are there products placed on/around the counter that hold an interest to the four­wheel 
customer but are out of sight lines? An example is a universal USB 12 volt plug-in 

  7. Members often ask me ‘What is the maximum number of programs/products a transaction counter should have?’ 
I’d recommend no more than six programs. Here is a sample product mix I’d recommend: lighter program, universal USB 2 SKU on two­-tiered display, 5­-Hour Energy Drink, 4 SKU on two-­tiered display, fresh fruit in basket (preferably oranges, green apples or bananas), e­-cig and vapor, and large candy bar or multi-­pack gum for suggestive selling. (See Suggestive Selling Boosts Profits While Benefiting Customers for more on suggesting selling.)

Photo Credit: Jules Clifford/NATSO

/// 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.