As convenience store ice cream sales reach £250m, Anna Metcalfe finds out three ways you can make sure you are getting your fair share.
Get ready for summer
Shoppers buy ice cream for three reasons, either to eat straight away, have with dinner that evening or to stock up for weekend get-togethers. To increase your sales, you must stock a range that caters for all of these areas.
In summer, impulse lines that shoppers can eat straight away receive the biggest boost. This range should include products that appeal to adults looking for a refreshing treat, fun lines for children and indulgent chocolate ice creams.
Phil Shaw, Mars Ice Cream general manager, says take-home ice cream is popular for summer gatherings and winter evenings, but during the summer, retailers should particularly capitalise on impulse sales by stocking more single ice cream bars and sticks.
Snacking products priced under £1 continue to benefit from strong growth and Wall’s is expanding its range this summer to cater for this demand. New products include Solero Strawberry Smoothie, Feast Sandwich and Wall’s Duo.
Ice cream can appeal to your shoppers no matter what the weather, so make sure it is always available to cater for everyone at all times.
Charlotte Hambling, head of marketing at Froneri, formerly R&R Ice cream, says: “Ice cream has become more than a refreshing treat on a hot day and can be a dessert or treat to be enjoyed at any time.”
Stock tubs for summer sharing
Indulgent ice cream tubs to share at home with friends and family are a growth area you should focus on to drive your sales and profits.
“Super-premium tubs perform well within convenience and present a significant opportunity to trade shoppers up. The sector is up 8.7% year on year as they are a popular choice with families due to the fact they appeal to people of all ages,” says Hambling.
This trend, which offers a year-round opportunity, is prompting a spate of recent product launches as summer approaches. A range of 440ml Magnum ice cream tubs was backed by TV advertising last month, and in March, Ben & Jerry’s launched Topped, a new range of tubs.
Cadbury Dairy Milk has unveiled Big Taste Toffee Whole Nut tubs, while Mars launched Mars and Snickers ice creams in a tub format in February.
You should make sure you promote your ice cream range on social media on warmer days to drive shoppers into your store.
Make the freezer unmissable
As ice cream is often bought on impulse, so the category must be clearly visible to drive sales.
This can start outside the store with signage, pavement PoS and branded bins to make passers-by aware that you stock ice cream. Nick Widdowson, Partners for Growth merchandising & creative controller, says: “Letting people know you sell ice cream could increase sales by up to 15%.
“Don’t hide your cabinet. Keep it near the till and use PoS outside the store to bring shoppers in.”
Near the till or at the end of an aisle are the best places. Shaw says: “Freezers should be located in high-traffic areas with clear signage to indicate that the store offers a range of ice cream lines. Retailers should ensure packs are displayed prominently.”
Organising the layout of the freezer is also important and clear sections should be established, using the best brands to draw attention.
It’s important to keep your freezer well-maintained and clean to attract shoppers. Upgrading your freezer can result in a 42% sales increase.
“My store has an impulse freezer for ice cream near the till and additional space for multipacks in the freezer section. We’ve had good sales over the winter and our slush machine has done well too.
“We’re now stocking up as much as we can to take advantage of early warm spells. Suppliers tend to do multi-buy offers over the summer and we’ll take advantage of all that we can, given the storage space that we have available.
“In our impulse freezer, we stock a range of brands and products such as Magnum, Cornetto, Twister and ice pops.
“We also stock a wide range from Happy Shopper, which includes lollies, cones and chocolate products, and the prices are generally half that of the branded equivalent. This is the biggest selling range for us as our local shoppers know it is always there.”
Sunita Kanji, Family Shopper Little Hulton, Manchester