Drink to success: how to use summer drinks to your advantage

As the weather gets warmer, shoppers will be looking to their local shop to provide a great range of chilled summer drinks.

Better Retailing looks at five ways you can make your store a destination for alcohol shoppers

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Summer is a great time to make more money from premium lines, as shoppers seek out products as a treat for barbecues and gatherings. Premium beers, ciders, wines and spirits are presenting the biggest growth opportunity within the category, so make sure you devote enough of your fixture to this sub-sector.

David Sheppy, managing director of Sheppy’s Cider, says: “Consumers are favouring traditional cider, helping the premium cider category to grow by 24%.”

This trend is also reflected in wines, with those priced above £8 presenting a big opportunity. Shaun Heyes, Treasury Wine Estates channel director says: “Convenience shoppers are increasingly trading up and buying more higher-end wines, both for themselves and as gifts.”

Premium products are less reliant on deals and offers to sell, the best way to drive volume is to make sure they are unmissable in your shop. Katie Hunter, innovation commercialisation manager at Diageo, recommends retailers position premium products at the top of the chiller and make the most of the profit margins they offer.

Within beer, the area gaining the most interest is craft beer. Despite commanding just 3% of the beer market, craft beer is a massive opportunity for retailers if you can source a handful of lines and rotate new products regularly. Sam Fielding, craft beer brand unit director at Heineken, says: “People are talking, debating, experimenting and getting excited about new beers, but 75% of beer drinkers, have never tried craft beer.”

You should stock lighter, craft beers that suit warm summer evenings and talk to your customers about them to drive loyalty and spend. Sue Cooper, co-owner at Little Valley Brewery, says: “Over the summer months, light and refreshing beers become more prevalent.”

Do it: Make sure you have strong availability of premium, chilled drinks

Summer cocktails

Consumers are increasingly making cocktails at home, especially ahead of gathering and events.

Retailers that merchandise cocktail ingredients near spirits can increase shoppers’ basket spend by inspiring them to make their events more special.

James Middleton, impulse channel director at Pernod Ricard, says: “Position Absolut Lime with fresh limes and soda and help shoppers make the connection by pointing it out to them with recipe cards.”

Jägermeister will be driving sales at festivals like Kendall Calling, Bestival, LoveBox and Citadel with a pop-up building called JägerHaus, which will serve cocktails and food to festival goers.

The brand is urging retailers to give more presence to spirits associated with socialising on fixture this summer.

If this area of the category reached half of the share it has in the on-trade, it would generate an additional £241m for retailers. Jägermeister Root 56 is one of the cocktails that the brand promotes to shoppers. It is made with ginger beer, lime and cucumber.

You should make sure your spirits fixture is stocked with premium products on the top shelf and that prices are clearly displayed. This is especially important if your fixture is behind the counter for security reasons.

Diageo has created a merchandising solution that uses pictures of spirit bottles printed on cards (pictured, above left) that shoppers take to the till to receive the bottle.

This allows spirits to still have a presence on the shop floor while reducing the risk of theft.

Do it: Place recipe cards near the spirits fixture to encourage shoppers to create summer cocktails

Refillable wine

At Spar Eat 17 in Whitstable, Kent, the team has an innovative way of keeping their wine shoppers loyal while driving their profit.

By partnering with Borough Wines, they have installed a wine refill station where shoppers can buy a bottle and fill it up with red, white or rosé wine.

The bottles have an RRP of £2.50 and the wine has an RRP of £6.50, giving a profit of up to 40%.

“It’s good quality wine and once shoppers buy the bottle it offers them a lot of value,” says Ben Axcell, assistant manager of the store.

The keg has a refrigerator built into it to keep the white and rosé wine chilled, which appeals to shoppers who want to buy a bottle and take it to the nearby beach.

“Sales increase in summer, but at the moment we’re doing 10-20 refills a week,” says Axcell.

The station has proved popular, with shoppers repeatedly returning to the store to save money. “Once shoppers understand they can save money this way then they love it. We’ve got a few locals that come in regularly to fill up so it definitely creates loyalty,” says Axcell.

The price of the system starts at £1,250, which includes a £1,000 refundable deposit, based on a minimum purchase of 10 kegs a month.

Do it: Want to get a wine refill keg in your shop? Call 020 7689 3379


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