Learn to spot a winner

Identify what soft drinks your customers will want to pick up, just like Shailesh Patel does at his Chelsea Food Fayre store, on London’s King’s Road. “The look of it is really important and then, if it has any particular ingredients or health benefits, that works well too,” he says.

However, Marcus Carter from Artisan Food Club, a wholesaler specialising in niche and craft-style products, warns retailers not to get carried away with their range.

“There can be a tendency for new manufacturers to go overboard, adding things just to make a point of difference, but there are many shoppers craving simplicity with drinks."

Non-drinkers are vital

Numbers suggest that rates of alcohol consumption are steadily declining, with around 21% of UK adults choosing not to drink, so it’s vital to offer drinks to cater to them.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is using one well-established brand, Appletiser, to focus on this opportunity and is creating a marketing campaign around cocktails – both with and without alcohol – that can be made using the drink.

The experience of Ramesh Shingadia, of Londis Southwater in West Sussex, seems to back up CCEP’s insight. “Customers like to have something sparkling like Shloer or Appletiser. They work for celebrations."

Be bold with your displays

Karma Cola, tipped by wholesaler Simply Heavenly to be a big seller in 2017, is one of a number of niche premium brands concerned with helping retailers get their display right. “The branding is cool and the PoS is really good,” says James Blogg, managing director at Simply Heavenly.

While PoS can bring new products to life, retailers are also adept at using display to boost sales in other ways. For Shailesh Patel this a simple matter of allocating his facings: “We block merchandise brands and tend to double face where we can – it really works in terms of driving sales,” he says.