Have you ever thought about running a gas station and a boutique in the same location? Sure, it may sound like an unconventional business model, but it can be a lucrative venture with the right approach.
This unique combination can offer customers the convenience of filling up their tanks while also indulging in some retail therapy. As defined by WebMD, retail therapy’s main purpose is to make people feel better about themselves when shopping. The idea here, from a customer point-of-view, is to go out for gas, and while you’re at it, enjoy some shopping too.
Gas station convenience stores have been around for a long time, so you can say that the origins of this idea aren’t new. However, a boutique is not the same as a convenience store. Hence, your approach to running the two needs to be a bit unorthodox, too.
To successfully manage these two seemingly contrasting businesses under one roof, here are a few essential tips.
A critical aspect of managing a gas station and boutique combo is selecting the right location. Ideally, you'll want to find a spot that sees significant foot and vehicle traffic. Gas stations inherently attract customers due to their necessity, but your boutique will benefit from increased visibility and footfall.
Consider areas near busy highways, major intersections, or suburban neighbourhoods with substantial commuter traffic. Ensure that the location is accessible, with adequate parking for both gas station and boutique customers.
Proximity to other businesses, such as restaurants, convenience stores, or shopping centres, can also enhance your chances of attracting a diverse clientele.
To make the gas station and boutique concept work, your boutique's merchandise should stand out and cater to a wide range of tastes. The key is to offer products that appeal to both travellers stopping for gas and locals who visit your boutique regularly.
Stock a variety of items, including clothing, accessories, home décor, and gifts. Consider local, handcrafted products and exclusive lines that set your boutique apart.
Don’t just stick to a particular type of item at your gas station boutique. That means if you’re running a women's boutique, don’t simply stick to one type of clothing item or brand. Instead, diversify your stock so that you can appeal to your gas station crowd, too.
As seen on the iPrestige Boutique website, no clothing or accessories store should avoid diversifying and trying to appeal to different consumer tastes. Hence, apart from a few classy or luxury items, focus on stocking products that are impulse buys or convenience items for gas station customers. These can include a few low-cost clothing options or accessories like caps, t-shirts, etc.
According to Josh & Jolene, creating an efficient and aesthetically pleasing store layout is crucial for running a successful gas station and boutique combo. The gas station section should be clearly separate from the boutique area, but both should be easily accessible from the main entrance.
Within the boutique, arrange products in an eye-catching and logical manner. Use well-designed displays and shelves to showcase your merchandise effectively. Using proper signage can help customers navigate the different sections of your business. An attractive layout and well-defined spaces will encourage customers to explore the boutique after they’re done taking gas.
To make the gas station and boutique combination work seamlessly, prioritise operational efficiency and convenience for both customers and staff. Invest in modern technology and systems that streamline operations, such as point-of-sale (POS) systems that can handle both gas station and boutique transactions. This will simplify inventory management and financial tracking.
Provide ample facilities for both staff and customers. Ensure that your gas station has enough fuel pumps, and maintain them regularly to prevent downtime. For the boutique, offer clean and accessible changing rooms, as well as ample storage space for inventory.
Some of the technologies at your establishment can, of course, be used across both the boutique and the gas station. However, some of the tech you use must be different. Fuel facility system solutions are one such type of technology that must be introduced separately at the location of your gas station.
According to Shields, Harper & Co., fuel systems and equipment can be very difficult to manage. Thus, there’s a growing need for efficient fuel system solutions. If you want operational efficiency at the gas station, you can’t ignore the importance of having these systems in place.
Ensure that your marketing materials and branding reflect the dual nature of your establishment. This may involve creating a unified logo, website, and social media profiles that highlight the gas station and boutique equally.
The fact that you’re running a boutique attached to a gas station should be a key highlight of your marketing strategy. Consider cross-promotions and loyalty programs that reward customers for spending in both sections.
Offering discounts, according to Forbes, can also help you promote your businesses. For instance, you could offer discounts on boutique items to gas station customers who fill up their tanks and vice versa. This encourages customers to explore both areas and can foster repeat business.
Although the idea of running a gas station and a boutique at the same spot sounds a bit weird, it’s nothing impossible. As you can tell from the discussion above, if you do it right, you can attract customers to both businesses.
Hence, if you’ve been thinking about setting up a gas station and boutique combo, go for it. When you do, don’t hesitate to turn to these tips whenever you’re in need of some guidance.