It’s two weeks until Diwali, with £80m in additional sales up for grabs. Chris Dillon speaks to London retailer Zara Saleem to find out how to promote the festival of lights.
What’s the opportunity?
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists across the world, with more than 1.3 million people taking part in the festival. It’s a time of parties, celebration and gifts, so sales of alcohol, confectionery are set to grow ahead of October 19.
“We introduce promotions on confectionery and drinks in our store as soon as we can get them from suppliers. I’d urge retailers to speak to them and see what help there is available,” says Zara Saleem, manager of Supersave Hendon in London.
The opportunity is massive for convenience retailers, who can cash in on top-up shops for parties and last-minute gifts.
Adrian Troy, AG Barr head of marketing, says: “Food and drink is at the heart of festival celebrations. Diwali represents £80m in incremental sales and a huge profit opportunity
Seventy-one per cent of retailers do not actively engage with their shoppers around Diwali, but Ferrero has been trying to help retailers to turn that around. “We had a 30% increase in Ferrero Rocher last year. We find that the boxed chocolate brands that look the most premium and presentable sell the best,” Saleem says.
What should I stock?
You should get ready for the celebrations as soon as possible by focusing your offer on juices, alcohol and boxed chocolates. Get these areas looking great and you will increase sales.
Troy says sales of exotic juice increase by 42% at this time. “Large pack sizes have greater appeal and Rubicon provides a major opportunity to drive sales in convenience with its broad choice,” he adds. The brand has launched limited-edition designs on its Mango, Guava and Passion flavours, as well as PoS to help retailers create Diwali-themed displays.
Sixty-five per cent of retailers say boxed chocolates are most-commonly bought as a gift during Diwali. Levi Boorer, Ferrero customer development director, says: “Ferrero Rocher’s golden packaging makes it the perfect gift and works well in themed displays
Bep Dhaliwal, Mars Chocolate trade communications manager, says: “The Celebrations tub and carton is a great option for sharing and retailers should stock up as soon as possible to tap into the sales opportunity offered by Diwali.”
Saleem also had a sales uplift on Celebrations last year. “We’re based by a station so we find that we get a massive boost from last-minute gifts,” she says.
How can I inspire my shoppers?
If you are new to promoting Diwali in your shop then you need to make a statement with your displays and promotions to bring people in. “Last year, we created a huge display at the front of our store with boxed chocolates, drinks and snacks and PoS that read ‘Diwali Offers’,” says Saleem.
It’s important to offer a broad range to give shoppers the choice to cater for different people at parties. “Having a large range of flavours to choose from is really important to shoppers, particularly during Diwali, when they are catering for large family gatherings,”
Social media can be a useful tool at this time, too. You can use it to promote your range and offers to create a sense of urgency among customers. “Whether it’s by creating theatre in-store, secondary sitings or via social media channels it is important to let your community know about upcoming occasions so you can get the most out of your sales during this period,” says Boorer.
Five ways you can grow your Diwali sales
1. Contact suppliers to learn more about promotions and PoS that is available
2. Stock a broad range of party food and drinks and create a display at the front of your shop
3. Use social media to tell your local community about your promotions
4. Maintain strong availability of boxed chocolate all the way up until October 19 to cash in on last-minute gifts
5. Offer a broad range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to help your shoppers cater for everyone.