Show of hands: With gas averaging over $4 a gallon, how many of you have customers who think that you’re raking in the money?

Probably a lot of you.

They’re complaining about it, aren’t they?

Some of them even seem angry.

Many drivers think gas station owners make huge profits off every gallon they sell. Although the reality is much different, explaining that doesn’t make drivers feel much better.

You need to do more than offer sympathy or say that you don’t make much off gasoline. Your customers don’t care. You need to ensure they know that you appreciate them and their choice to shop at your store.

And among the best ways to show that appreciation is through product discounts and giveaways, or just saying thanks. So here are five clever ideas for showing customers how much you value their business at a difficult time. They range from product giveaways to special sales.

Whatever you do at your store, remember that customers are always your most important asset.

A man standing at a gas pump places his hand on his forehead in frustration over the high price of fuel.
The price of gas has many drivers feeling frustrated. Now is the time for station owners to remind customers how much they appreciate their business.
A male grocery store employee is smiling as he stands next to a smiling female shopper.
Holding a Customer Appreciation Day reminds consumers that you don’t take their business for granted.

Hold a Customer Appreciation Day

There’s no better time than now to remind customers how much you’re grateful for their business. And an irresistible way to do that is with a sale. With gasoline prices reaching record highs and inflation chipping away at family budgets, customers will welcome a chance to save.

Holding a Customer Appreciation Day (or weekend) is a winning way to get consumers into your store. Once they’re in, keep their interest by offering deals on some of your most popular products. Now’s the time to offer your best price on hot beverages or two-for-one deals on doughnuts. Offer a free large drink with any breakfast item or a thank-you gift for the first 100 customers.

The deals should be good enough that customers will know immediately that they’re not everyday offers. Customer Appreciation Day is special. Your sales should be, too.

Use branded merchandise for customer giveaways

5-hour ENERGY Retailer Rewards (sm) members receive branded promotional items such as refillable water bottles, T-shirts and fanny packs as a membership benefit.

Have you considered using them as part of an in-store giveaway? Product giveaways are a terrific way to draw customers inside — and take their minds off the high price of gasoline.

Kingsford Self-Serve in Kingsford, Michigan, used the free items from several Retailer Rewards mailers to spur 5-hour ENERGY shot sales. Every time customers bought two or more bottles, employees would enter them into a drawing to win 5-hour ENERGY® merchandise such as hats, keychains and insulated drink containers. The more times they bought 5-hour ENERGY, the more entries they’d receive.

To promote the campaign, store manager Evelyn Vassar dressed an inflatable Berry Flavor 5-hour ENERGY bottle in sunglasses and a hat. “Barry Berry,” as she called him, became the mascot for the store’s promotion.

The campaign led to a lot of fun conversations with customers and helped sell a little more 5-hour ENERGY, too, Vassar said.

A collection of 5-hour ENERGY-branded T-shirts, caps, fanny packs and tumblers.
Logo merchandise such as T-shirts and hats from popular brands can be an exciting prize for in-store customer contests. Be sure to promote your giveaway.
A man and two women sample food being sold from a street vendor.
Giving your customers free tastes of some of your most popular food items is a time-tested way to encourage sales. Pick products that are low-cost but have high profit margins.

Offer free product samples

Have you ever been to a candy store that had employees handing out samples of some of their most popular products? Or gave away tastes of a sweet that was on sale?

Free samples are a time-tested way to turn curious shoppers into loyal consumers. Just visit a warehouse club on a weekend afternoon. The aisles are full of food carts offering free hot and cold bite- size versions of entrees and snacks.

You may be able to run a similar event at your store. Lots of c-store food items are ideal for sampling: chips, crackers, sandwiches and drinks. Just be sure to check with your local health department to see if any samples you plan to offer customers require a food service license. And be sure that you comply with any related food safety regulations.

The key to a successful sampling event is finding products that have a high perceived value for your customers — such as a banana or hot pretzel — but don’t cost you much.

Connect with customers on social media

You might think your customers aren’t interested in following your store on social media. After all, if they’re only in your store for a few minutes a day or a few times a week, why would they care about anything you post?

You might be surprised. Surveys have shown that more than two-thirds of the U.S. population is active on social media platforms. They’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

The most engaged consumers are always online. They’re shopping, reading reviews, and posting their own customer experiences. Social media is an ideal place to tell them about limited-time sales or new products.

And most important for c-store owners, customers who interact with a store’s social channels are more loyal — and more likely to spend money — than those who don’t.

If they see your store as a friendly place to shop — and not just a place with expensive gasoline — they’re more likely to visit and recommend your store to friends and family.

Consider running online contests to boost social engagement. Remind in-store customers to visit you on Facebook, Twitter or TikTok.

Before starting an online contest, however, be sure to check with legal experts to ensure you comply with any local, state or federal rules governing giveaways.

A woman looks at Twitter at her smartphone.
Many consumers like to follow their favorite businesses on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Interacting with them can foster positive feelings that are good for your business.
A collection of price stickers for 5-hour ENERGY.
Retailer Rewards members receives free price stickers that encourage consumers to buy 5-hour ENERGY in two- or four-packs.

Use 5-hour ENERGY pricing stickers

Every Retailer Rewards member can get free two-for or four-pack price stickers that encourage customers to buy 5-hour Energy shots in larger quantities. It’s up to you whether to use them to offer a discount over the single-bottle price. But with the price of many everyday items spiking, customers will respond to a good discount.

Selling 5-hour ENERGY shots at two bottles for $6 is an ideal way to fire up sales volumes.

Regardless of what price you set, use promotions to provide customers with attractive options that maintain your profit margins.

No one knows when gas prices will ease. Meanwhile, many households are still trying to figure out how to adjust. Making your customers feel appreciated — and helping their money go a little farther — will always pay you back.

If your location has run a similar promotion, please email us at retailer@rewards.5hourEnergy.com.
We would love to hear about the promotion and possibly feature your location on the 5-hour ENERGY® Retailer Rewards site at a later date.