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Summer's single-serve beverages

One of the byproducts of summer seasonality is the increased sales of thirst-quenching beverages.  It’s also during the summer that retailers may face stiffer competition from the convenience and drug channel, given their broader selection of single-serve beverages and their smaller store size.  Shoppers making an unplanned purchase may prefer these channels over a grocery store given their quicker transaction rates and product variety.  So how should a grocery retailer compete against the convenience and drugstore formats?

A sure-fire way is making beverage coolers and cooler barrels a store priority during the summer.  Ensure that these impulse and full-size coolers are constantly stocked and rotated, and near the store front by checkouts and customer service areas.  No shopper would want to choose from an empty cooler.  No shopper would be happy in picking up a warm bottle of juice either.  Having coolers near checkouts and customer service area also caters to that impulse shopper who just wants to get their chilled refreshment and get out. There’s also the benefit of getting that incremental item in the grocery shopper’s basket as they wait to complete their planned purchase.

Beverage manufacturers like Coca-Cola, Pepsi or Red Bull have an assortment of coolers that they’re willing to offer grocery stores.  The equipment is typically free of charge for the grocer, in exchange for providing these manufacturers a larger retail presence and beverage exclusivity.   Even the maintenance costs of replacement bulbs and setting chill levels, as well as merchandising costs to provide racks and shelving are the manufacturer’s responsibility.

Another opportunity is focusing on food and drink combinations.  Some grocery stores may have a freshly prepared foods or ready-to-eat food department that can serve a food and drink combination.  Shoppers looking for convenient food options may choose to purchase their meal in the grocery store’s cafeteria area, and attaching a bottled beverage for them should be easy.  Featuring food and drink combinations increase both departments’ sales, as the shopper came in looking for either food or drink and left with food and drink.  Coolers in this area also help boost food sales traffic as shoppers hunting for beverages may use the food checkout’s shorter line-up.  They may end up picking up some meal options as well.

As we enter the summer months, it’s critical for grocery retailers to think of themselves more than just a grocery destination.  Whether they are shoppers already in your store buying groceries or impulsive thirst-quenching buyers looking to buy a chilled bottle beverage, both segments can help the retailer improve their total store sales.  You just have to make it a priority.

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