It’s a packed day where retailers and suppliers analyse the challenges of the previous year and identify the opportunities ahead.

During one of the group sessions, conversation turned to a new gin from a major brand that was available in supermarkets long before many of the retailers in the room had access to it. 

The initial sales craze was short-lived, they said, and by the time they got it on their shelves, customers were either buying other things or used to buying it from the supermarkets. 

It’s a common frustration when it comes to new products, but One Stop retailer Dee Sedani pointed out: “Independents will always be the best by knowing our customers, taking risks and standing out from the crowd.”

This was a point that was echoed by Susan Nash from Mondelez International and Stefan Appleby of betterRetailing.com, who said: “The multiples might get there first, that’s never going away, so what can you do that’s different?” 

Alcohol is a category that is driven by trends. Retailers, such as the Independent Achievers Academy’s overall best shop Londis Weymouth, have jumped on trends like craft beer and have become the go-to for those products.

Our lead story tips rum as ‘the next gin’ – could that be how you stand out? You can definitely take advantage of the trends faster than the supermarkets can.

To succeed in 2018, you have to make sure that your store offers a better experience than your competition.

What will you do to make your mark?