Natalie Lightfoot, one of our seven expert retailer columnists, reveals two merchandising ideas that increased her sales

In the past year we’ve really put a lot of effort into creating a great soft drinks range. We partnered with Coca-Cola and installed BevTrac, which has seen our sales increase by £3,500 a year.

BevTrac is a spring system that sits at the back of the fridge and pushes all the products forward, which makes sure your display always looks tidy. It also means you don’t have to worry about constantly facing-up products.

A shelf normally fits six drinks on in a row and you do lose one if you’ve got BevTrac, but the front of it has a plastic label of the brand, or a generic label like ‘sports’ or ‘energy’, so you always know what should go there.

We’ve seen our takings increase, but found we sold 850 units less than the previous year. This is because we introduced more multipacks, which are really popular as they offer better value.

In January we introduced a kids’ corner, as we realised that we didn’t have much room for children’s sweets. We had them on shelves underneath the hanging bags and they were getting lost.

We’ve always wanted to introduce pocket money toys. We did it once in the summer, with a full range of toys on a one-metre shelving unit. Some of the toys then were a bit excessive; we had paddling pools and all sorts.

We’ve now introduced a spinning fixture with pocket money toys on it, with £2.99 being the most expensive as magazines are so expensive now. I’m planning to add traditional jars of sweets that we will bag ourselves. We have started pre-bagged mixes of penny sweets and these have done well.

We’ve been able to make these two changes because we know what our shoppers want: an easy experience and great value. Our customers can be savvy about what money they spend. We succeed because we trial, and listen to their response.