How we manage the soft drinks category

As a convenience store retailer in Scotland I am confronted by the unique nature of the Scottish consumer everyday. One of the categories where this is most evident is soft rinks. In almost every other territory where Coca Cola is sold around the world it is the number one brand. In Scotland the top seller is Iron Brew. My customers buy significantly more of the local favourite that the international heavy weight and this give our soft drinks display a significantly different look to stores in England.

The soft drinks category is a significant part of my business and we chill around 90% of our and to allow us to do this we invested in a 5 metre chiller cabinet with a remote compressor. Our impact on the environment is an important factor in the way we operate our business and our choice of chiller was guided by this. http://www.betterretailing.com/2012/11/latest-news/events-awards/congratulations-to-the-iaa-winners/

This means that we can include our 2lt range along side our smaller products. Our top seller, 500 ml Iron Brew has 4 facings with Diet Iron Brew getting 3. For Coca Cola it’s 3 facings and 2 for Diet Coke. I feel that all the soft drinks range can be for ‘instant consumption’ and that many of my customer like the family size bottles chilled as they are ready to serve as some as they get home. After all my shop is a convenience store so we need to ensure our offer is convenient to how our customers want to use the products that we sell.

My best sellers are:
1. Iron Bru 500ml
2. Coca Cola 500ml
3. Diet Iron Bru 500ml
4. Diet Coke 500ml
5. Barr Cola 500ml

I think it is really important to keep the category fresh with new lines being added and products that are selling slowly, less than half a case a week, are reduced to sold off and deleted from our range. Chilled cabinet space is expensive to provide both from its initial cost and the ongoing cost of electricity used to keep the products cool.

Regular price promotions are important to maximise the sales from this category and I find that 2lt bottles sell big volumes when we can offer them at £1 each. This works much better for our customers than 2 bottles for £2! For the 500ml size range we always get the best response when we can offer them at 2 for £1.40.

My policy for success with soft drinks is to

Offer the drinks chilled across the range.
Have a well lite display.
Multi-face the best sellers.
Keep the cabinet well stocked and tidy.
Always offer promotions.
Build a range that meets our customers expectation.


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