Following our Christmas snacks feature earlier this month, RN caught up with Chris Harrison, head of commercial operations at P&H direct van sales – which incorporates Snacksdirect. We asked him how convenience retailers can take an even bigger slice of the snacks market this winter.

Retail Newsagent Which products do you predict will do well this winter?

Chris Harrison Sharing is continuing to grow as a category trend this year and will definitely be key for retailers again this Christmas. Having a fully-stocked core range of best-selling products on your shelves, such as Walkers 32.5g and McCoy’s 50g bags, is also very important. Shoppers tend to trade up over Christmas, so as well as stocking a core range of crisps and snacks, don’t forget to stock up on nuts, where retailers can expect to see a higher seasonal demand.

RN What are the top three missed opportunities for retailers at Christmas?

CH A lot of retailers miss out on sales because they don’t prepare early enough – crisps, snacks and nuts shoppers start increasing their spend from October. The second missed opportunity I would say is not having a fully stocked range of sharing formats, which is a popular choice for customers at Christmas. Lastly, it’s important for retailers to maintain a core range of best-selling single-serve products, as many customers are busy and demand more on-the-go products.

RN Are you doing anything to help retailers through the busy Christmas period in terms of organisation and delivery?

CH: Our vans carry a full range of best-selling products at great prices which we deliver directly to stores, meaning retailers can spend more time in store maximising their sales with their customers. We also provide point-of-sale material and help with merchandising, which really helps to drive the rate of sales.

RN How should retailers merchandise popular Christmas categories like snacks and alcohol?

CH More than 10% of all alcoholic drink product purchases include crisps or snacks. Site crisps, snacks and nuts – particularly sharing packs – in areas of high footfall and near beers, wines and spirits in store to help maximise your sales.

RN How can retailers maximise crisp sales through innovative merchandising and in-store theatre?

CH Exciting and interesting displays encourage impulse purchases and drive sales. Retailers can stand out above the rest by following a few simple steps, such as using on-shelf POS, wobblers and shelf barkers. Secondary sightings encourage impulse purchases and drive footfall so it’s important to utilise branded CTU’s, stackers or dump-bins – next to the alcohol, if possible. Advertise your promotions, front of store and window displays during Christmas when footfall is high, as this attracts shoppers in store.