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Maximize Your Vendor Relationships and Product Sales with These Three Tips from NATSO Connect

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail


For two and a half days, the industry gathers to find knowledge, solutions and connections at NATSO Connect. Just like NATSO Connect, the NATSO Connect Magazine is your source for improving your travel plaza business operations. 

Maximize Your Vendor Relationships and Product Sales with These Three Tips from NATSO Connect

Vendors are valuable partners can help truckstop and travel plaza operators learn more about industry trends, category performance and promotional plans. During NATSO Connect 2018’s Good-to-Great Workshop, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, shared several ways operators can get the most out of their vendor relationships.


Establish Regular Meetings: Vendors should be coming in and talking about performance, and Schulte encouraged operators to set up regular meetings with their suppliers. “Your vendors should be coming and talking about performance, and not just how much they sell, but also how much is going through your register.

Create a Promotional Plan: Promotions can be a great way to generate sales and interest, but operators need to be strategic about what they place on promotion. “If you don’t have a plan and you don’t have a strategy, you’re not going to generate the sales you’re expensive,” Schulte said. “When you drive a promotion, are you looking to grow sales, margins or the value perception? Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish.” 

Once operators know what they’re trying to accomplish, they can get with their vendors to create a plan and build out a promotional calendar for the year. 

Position Products Based on Their Performance: Locations may have to carry certain items based on their vendor contracts, but Schulte said operators shouldn’t always allow the vendor to determine product placement. “If you have a product you have to carry because your vendor says you have to but it isn’t a great seller, don’t put it in a premium location,” he said. “We all think our customer shop, but most of our customers are buyers, not shoppers.”> 

Truckstop and travel plaza operators can take advantage of Schulte’s insights during NATSO Connect 2019, Feb. 10-13 in Orlando, Florida. Schulte will join an impressive line-up of thought leaders sharing ideas and insights to help operators thrive amidst ongoing disruption and increased competition. Learn more at

/// NATSO Connect 2019 will be held February 10 - 13 in Orlando, Florida. Register and learn more about NATSO Connect here

Photo credit: Brittany Palmer/NATSO

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About the Author

Amy Toner

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

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