Two weeks ago I joined representatives from some of the biggest suppliers in the industry to judge the Independent Achievers Academy.
It’s always one of my favourite days of the year. We get to see some of the best examples of retailing in the country and discuss exactly what it is that makes the convenience channel tick.
This year, something stood out to me about those stores with alcohol displays. From beer caves to bespoke props, from curved walls to world-class ranges, the standard of alcohol display across the board was brilliant.
I realised that we were looking at great stores, and not everyone has space to be able to create a beer cave. But I was struck by the fact that even small stores had done amazing things. Some of the best things I saw were from stores of only a couple of hundred square feet, where they had invested in eye-catching wooden shelving, barrels for promotional displays or great signage.
It got me thinking. All suppliers talk about the importance of creating theatre in store, across all categories. But with alcohol, you have a unique opportunity to create something mind-blowing that can really make your store stand out.
Talking on Twitter earlier this week, Raaj Chandarana posted a picture of a wine display he’d found of a deli in Ealing, West London. He praised the lighting, the signposting by regions, the “rustic ladders”.
Others got involved, with Adam Hogwood saying that more people should be looking to create a “shop within a shop” format.
Raaj and Adam run stores in very different areas, of different sizes, with different customer bases. But both know the value of looking at what is out there, taking inspiration from it and constantly working out how they can improve.
Use the gifts that the alcohol industry provides you. It looks great on shelf – so give it the display that it deserves. It starts simple – lighting, signage and ranging are things that all retailers can look at.
Then you can add the rustic ladders, or turn it into a cave. It’ll be an investment that you won’t regret.