OPINION: Summer success is all about being prepared – Sam Coldbeck, Wharfedale Premier convenience store, Hull

'With cider sales increasing as the weather warms up, it’s a good time to look at new trends and flavours'

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Springtime brings many new opportunities in retail. Lighter nights mean the steady evening trade will increase as people begin to venture out, socialising more after hibernating during the long winter months.

Cider sales increase as warmer weather drives an impulse for crisp, fruity drinks, and an opportunity to build sales on butchery meat, salads and charcoal re-emerge as people begin to enjoy their gardens and roll out the barbecue.

Success depends on being prepared. We often have one opportunity to capitalise on seasonal events. If we don’t have what customers want at the exact moment they need it, we’ll likely lose the sale, and sometimes even the customer to a competitor. We are fortunate enough to enjoy an all-year-round opportunity to sell charcoal. We have a reasonably large customer base who like to escape reality and venture out in all weathers to go night fishing. They also prefer to light a barbecue and not rely on Deliveroo to provide their dinner for the evening. This gives us an opportunity to be the fisherman’s friend when it comes to being a one stop shop for their nights away from home. This stands us in good stead when the nice weather arrives as we’re halfway there in our preparation.

With cider sales increasing as the weather warms up, it’s a good time to look at new trends and flavours. Promotions are a great way to introduce customers to new products.

We tend to offer multi buys across ranges so customers can buy what they know and experiment with a new flavour at the same time. We also look at shelf plans, opening up more chilled space for take home ciders so customers can enjoy their drink as soon as they get home. This gives us the edge over supermarkets as most of them don’t offer a chilled option.

A change in seasons can also play havoc with our EPoS system. We often have one eye on the weather forecast when we’re placing orders. As good as our ordering system is, its not yet learned to predict a bit of sunshine, a rise in temperature and the pain a retailer feels because they’ve sold out of Lemonade or Ben & Jerry’s due to a spike in trade. By manually overriding orders, we tend to stay on the right side of sales, which keeps our customers coming back as the temperatures build to what I hope will be, a spectacular summer for us all.

Sam Coldbeck, Wharfedale Premier convenience store, Hull

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