Topics: Marketing & Retail

Six Facts Truckstops Need to Know About Gen Z

Generation Z, the group coming up right behind Millennials, will overtake Gen Y as the country's largest cohort by 2034, ultimately peaking at 78 million. Members of Gen Z—those born between 1997 and 2012—have different shopping habits than the generations before them, and retailers can't afford to ignore this critical group of shoppers. Here are six facts about Gen Z that can help retailers connect with this powerful customer base. More

Answers to Truckstop Operators’ FAQs on Parking Members Only Join or Login

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions I get on parking. More

Combine Categories to Maximize Promotional Pricing Results at Your Truckstop

Truckstop and travel plaza operators are familiar with promotional pricing. Walk into any location, and you will see two-for-one or buy-one-get-one deals (BOGOs). It is often vendors that are pushing these, but are they useful? Here are my thoughts and some examples of how operators can execute promotional pricing as well as how I had my team of merchants carry this out. More

Nine Great Ideas to Grow Sales and Improve the Customer Experience at Your Truckstop

As a travel center operator, you must always be asking yourself how can you better serve your customers. Here are nine great ideas to implement to make sure you are growing sales and giving customers what they want. More

Six Secrets Truckstop Operators Can Learn from Costco’s Success

NATSO members often look at the best practices of their fellow operators, but it is important to also look at the entire retail, food and fueling landscape. One of the continuing shining stars in today's current retail environment is Costco. While much of today’s retail landscape is driven by the growth and convenience of e-commerce, Costco is continuing to thrive. Here are six key ingredients that contribute to the retailer’s winning recipe of success. More

How to Use Billboards to Drive Your Travel Center's Profits Up

Next time you drive down the Interstate to your facility, look at your signage from the point-of-view of a customer who is visiting for the very first time. Signage is a crucial piece of your business as it serves as an invitation for a customer to stop into your site versus your competitors’ sites! Interstate billboards give you exposure to large numbers of travelers every day and night. I believe that this is one of the most effective forms of advertising. Billboard Pricing and ROI Billboards range in price. Small non-illuminated units may cost $150 to $350 per month. Large illuminated billboards can range from $1,500 to $4,000 per month or more depending on traffic counts and several other factors such as the number of units available in the market, demand for those units and if it is a left- or right-hand read... More

Five Retail Trends Your Truckstop Should Be Adapting to and Exercises to Explore Them

In preparation for NATSO Connect, I took a fresh look at the trends influencing the industry. Truckstops and travel plazas should be adapting to each of these trends. Number 1: Rise of Experiential Retail According to the article, “The old model of in-store (and even online) retail strictly focused on products being sold. However, consumers have slowly but surely been moving away from strictly shopping for products, instead seeking a more engaging experience”. The trend was originally driven by younger consumers and their preference for experiences over price and product, however that no longer just the case. Young and old are less likely to spend money in places where the experience is poor regardless of how great the prices are. There is a growing feeling that my money is worth something and if I plan on spending it better be a worthwhile experience. “Even so, simply remodeling a store isn’t enough,” the article continues. Nearly 5,000 stores closed in 2018 and some experts believe another 4,000 are expected to close their doors in 2019, and “the brands that do survive will have done so by creating engrossing experiences”. What Should You Do: Get a pencil and pad of paper. Identify your three busiest diesel fuel gallon times and days. Schedule an extra employee on these days. Create a mini menu for breakfast and lunch of grab-n-go foods. During these identified times, the extra employee armed with proper safety gear should ask drivers while they are fueling if they can get them anything to eat and drink such as a breakfast burrito and coffee and or a PBJ with chips and milk. This will create a positive experience. More

Highlights from NATSO Connect 2019

Truckstop and travel plaza operators came together in Orlando, Florida, for NATSO Connect 2019 and left inspired and informed. So many amazing things came out of the annual event. Here are a six highlights. Insight Into the Future We all want to know what the future holds, and much of NATSO Connect focused on helping operators prepare for the trends and technology that are coming down the pipeline. During one keynote, NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings sat down with Dave Manning, president of TCW Inc. and Immediate Past Chairman of the American Trucking Associations as well as Dan Murray, vice president of the American Transportation Research Institute, to discuss the latest trends affecting truck drivers. Attendees got a first-hand look at how hours-of-service requirements, electronic logging devices and e-commerce are all changing professional drivers’ operating environment. More

Holiday Retail Sales are Important: Nine Ideas for What Your Truckstop Could Stock for the Holidays

As I type this we have 56 days until Christmas. If you have not ordered your LED Christmas Lights for drivers to hang on their trucks you may already be out of luck. What about that bag with a handful of charcoal briquettes inside strategically placed on the counter and sold for a buck or so? Everyone loves to get a bag of coal for Christmas. If you do not have Christmas and other holiday gifts and products in the store already, get on the phone now and get them ordered. More

Holiday Retail Sales Are Important at Truckstops Too

I had the pleasure in the past three weeks to visit with owners and managers of a combination of 18 new and current member locations. I saw awesome stores with a lot of exciting happenings. I was, however, surprised to see how few of the operations had yet to prepare for the Halloween holiday let alone Christmas. We will talk Christmas on the next blog. More