Unusual high-margin categories: 10 retailers reveal their secret successes

The betterRetailing team talks to 10 retailers to find out what unusual products they’re selling to bring in more customers, more sales and better margins

High margin categories

While there are plenty of product categories that are essential for convenience stores, there are also a host of unusual products that – if placed right and aimed at the right demographic – can generate footfall, sales and margins.

For stores in tourist areas, selections of tourist gifts can provide selling points that enjoy long shelf-lives and strong margins. For those with a community store, local artisans and producers can provide an interesting and appealing offer.

Identify a demand in your local area not being met and then ensure your store meets that demand. When her village pet shop closed, Trudy Davies from Woosnam & Davies in Llanidloes, Powys, stepped in, selling pet food, leads and collars. She says: “It helps customers because they don’t have to drive 15 miles to the nearest pet shop to get it. And it helps our till as well.”

With her birdseed and her local crafts, she has products that generate impulse and mission purchases.

Avtar ‘Sid’ Sidhu, from St John’s Budgens in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, and Sandeep Bains, from Southern Co-op in Faversham, Kent [VIDEO], have added perfume to their stores’ offer. “Perfume has been one of the two best new additions to my store in the past few years,” says Sidhu. “We have a range for £12 and we’re regularly placing over £1,000 orders. It’s more than 50% margin, so it’s hugely important at the moment. I’ve spoken about it to other stores and now around 100 local shops are doing the same.”

Sidhu also lists Keel Toys’ soft toys and candles as great performing lines he’s introduced. “With gift categories like these, the difference between it looking like it belongs in the store and it looking jarring is in the placement and merchandising. Give it its own bay and treat it like its own concession.

“It really should go next to your cards as well to give the best possible chance,” he says.

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