Retail Better: High-Impact In-store Marketing Relies on Repetition 

On the 3000 Mile Store Walk, which is our survey of convenience store marketing, we walk each store from the outside in. We walk the store just like the shoppers walk the stores, from each zone at the street, to the pumps and into the store. It’s all about the customer journey. 

In-store marketing requires time to get each customer’s attention and for them to understand the offer. One of the best practices we see all the time is the way Wawa positions their promotions from the outside in. They do it with strong photography, great graphics, simple headlines and no price point.  

And when you walk a Wawa c-store, you see an impact at the street, at the pumps, at the front of the store, into the store at the decompression zone, and right up to the destination where one orders the sandwich. It’s promoted as “Cheesy, Melty, Toasty.” On a recent store walk, I think I saw the “Cheesy, Melty, Toasty” message about 10 times before I got to the order counter. 

It’s to the point. It makes sense. Repetition Counts. 

How to Better Communicate Your Bean-to-Cup Coffee Program to Customers

Over the last two years, bean-to-cup coffee programs have become more and more popular within the convenience store landscape. By individually grounding and brewing the beans, these new high-tech machines promise a fresh, hot cup of coffee on demand.

Putting customers in control of preparing their own brew allows store associates to focus on other tasks. Another positive associated with this innovative coffee service is that it helps eliminate excess waste as described by Kum & Go’s senior category manager, fountain beverages, Connie Kelehan.

What’s not to love.

Change Can Cause Confusion

Whenever retailers introduce new technology, such as bean-to-cup coffeemaking to their customers, situations can arise. As with everything new, there’s a learning curve. Shoppers may not know how to use the new machines.

Adapting to new tech takes a few go-rounds. From that first time standing in front of a “place your own order” sandwich kiosk or “mix-your-own soda” style machine, everyone has experienced that “What do I do?” or “How do I do this?” moment. Whether it’s short on time or other customers lining up, the pressure builds to hurry up and get that order placed. It’s uncomfortable and can lead to a negative customer experience and maybe even a missed sale.

GSP created this easy step-by-by step direction with frame kit signage for MAPCO’s bean-to-cup customers.

How to Create a Better Coffee Making Experience

“A simple way to solve customer confusion is by providing them easy-to-follow instructions illustrating how to use the new machines,” suggests GSP Chief Creative Officer Steven Cohen. “Why not create point-of-purchase (POP) instructions written and designed to match the c-store retailers’ brand?” added Steven.

Here are some examples of how GSP’s team of design, marketing and visual merchandising experts can help develop instructions tailored to your stores and can even provide the hardware system that houses the signage. This system can be switched up with a variety of messaging anytime and is constructed to fit and work with most coffee setups.

Why Stop With Coffee? More Messaging Ideas

In addition to the new brewers, other programs and equipment may seem slightly tricky to shoppers. Clear communication is the key to creating positive customer experiences.

Consider creating similar how-to or simplified step-by-step signage for the following:

  • Rewards and Loyalty Programs – you’ve excited your customer, now make sure they know how and where to download apps, how to earn points or access mobile app offers.
  • Car Wash – from how to pay to possible car wash loyalty programs, put c-store shoppers’ minds at ease as to how to use the equipment or how to earn free future washes.
  • Curbside Pickup – do customers know the drill for picking up curbside or mobile orders? If not, signage letting them know you need the make and model of their vehicle and how long they should expect to wait, can help.

Providing shoppers with a few simple words can go along way when it comes to direction and keeping the flow of customers moving. To hear more tips and tricks or to get started on signage geared toward assisting your customers, contact us today. 

Inexpensive Tools to Improve the In-store Experience

Retailers often think major remodels are the only way to update their store and the customers’ in-store experience. For alternative ideas, Steven Cohen, GSP’s Vice President of Design Services, and Lester Morrow, Industrial Design Creative Director, recently visited various stores to look for merchandising areas with room for improvement. As a result of these store visits, they provided some simple and easy-to-implement solutions to improve the in-store experience and create impact. Here are their recommendations.


Create a system to communicate your offer. Customers only have so much time to find and purchase the item they’re looking for. Make it easy for them to navigate the store space by creating focus—and establishing visually appealing destinations for the main store categories, such as coffee, fountain and foodservice. Consider using a “graphics system” for identifying key areas (see the image on the left above) rather than creating widely varying graphics for each area. A simpler, uniform system will often make it easier for consumers to make purchasing decisions and shop.


Create visually appealing category destinations—organization is key for an improved in-store experience. Equipment is often different heights which creates a visual disturbance or “skyline effect” as shown in the image to the left. By arranging the equipment so that they line up at the top, and by also creating centralized storage for condiments and utensils, you will ensure your category destination areas look neat and organized.


Create your own “Wall of Value.” Make sure that bulk displays do not detract from the overall presentation of the store. For example, in the image on the left, the multiple stacks of packaged drinks result in visual clutter. A moveable platform solution with packaged drinks grouped together with branded background signage can help market and bring focus to your products.

New Merchandising Ideas: Rolling Kiosk and Transparent Cooler

Rolling Kiosk to Promote Foodservice Offerings.

Rolling Kiosk

Use the Rolling Kiosk to promote your foodservice offerings, pricing changes or monthly specials in various locations throughout the store. The Rolling Kiosk helps to shorten overall traffic time by providing a menu where people wait in line.

In addition to driving traffic, Rolling Kiosks can help to reinforce brand/positioning. The easy to change out graphics help you react more quickly at the store level with pricing or menu changes.

The free standing Rolling Kiosk moves easily and has front and back exposure with over 10 square feet of advertising space. It is constructed of a durable powder-coated all metal construction for years of use.

iSEE Cooler

Transparent Cooler for High Brand Visibility.

The Transparent Cooler, an iSee™ innovation available in partnership with GSP, has the unique feature of a clear glass front for high product visibility. Available in 18 or 50 gallon versions, it can keep product cold for up to 48 hours, and includes an easy-to-use drain and spigot. Combined with sturdy signage hardware, the Transparent Cooler is ideal for introducing new products without having to cut into your existing set – making product launch easier to execute and provides product specific sales lift.

The Transparent Cooler can be customized for your brand. The lid and side panel insets are smooth, made to accept permanent or temporary decals. The cooler can include signage for closed and open operation providing two creative ways to merchandise new products. The trolley signage clips on for easy attachment and removal, and the heavy-duty struts are built to last year after year, open after open.

Industrial Design Spotlight: Foodservice Kiosk and Handago

Industrial Design Spotlight: Foodservice Kiosk and Handago


Brampton Kiosk

Drive traffic to your food areas with an attractive Foodservice Kiosk — available in a multitude of finishes. Use the kiosk to promote new pricing changes, food offerings or monthly specials in various locations of the store. The kiosk helps to shorten overall traffic time by providing a menu where people wait in line.

In addition to driving traffic, kiosks can help to reinforce brand/positioning and improve speed of order process, customer satisfaction and overall sales. And, these quick change kiosk help you react quicker at the store level with pricing or menu changes, providing additional support to the store menu systems.

You could also use kiosks to take advantage of weather conditions (ie. featuring iced coffee on warm days), promote local or national events or highlight a new product.



Providing a convenient and sanitary way to clean hands, this idea is ideal for both indoor and outdoor advertising. The panels can be easily mounted and replaced. It is durable, weather resistant, and the two front wheels make it very portable and easy to move around to different locations.

Each Handago is equipped with a large quantity of alcohol free hand wipes that kill 99.9% of germs, which would be ideal by gas pumps, shopping carts or foodservice areas. The Panels and signs can be easily mounted and replaced for highlighting different store specials or services.

The Handago is also environmentally conscious by offering a unique system that accurately dispenses wet-wipes, uses plastic bags instead of plastic canisters and incorporates recyclable polyethylene plastic in the dispensers.

Industrial Design Spotlight: Versatile Frameless Sign Display

Modular System for Multiple Applications

GSP’s versatile frameless sign display is composed of 2-4 3mm Sintra or equivalent flexible poster material attached to a steel wire frame construction.

It can be mounted to a wall, counter or gondola, hung from the ceiling or utilized as a freestanding floor stand with optional baskets or shelves.

This versatile system is ideal for a number of different POP applications and could be used as a menuboard, standee/entrance promotion or sidewalk sign and is modular enough to even incorporate as kiosks throughout the store.

This sign display can be customized to work with a variety of colors and materials, to match your store décor and brand. The panels are completely changeable and pop in and out with ease for quick pricing or promotional changes.

Versatile Frameless Sign Display Features:
• Vertical or horizontal application
• Can be customized to match store brand colors and materials
• Custom configurations available in different panel sizes
• Modular for multiple configurations