Warmer weathers means shoppers are more likely to swap dining in for eating outdoors. Nikki Allen finds out how you can use this to increase profits.

What's the opportunity?

Picnics are a British tradition and 70% of shoppers will have at least one of them this summer. So you should make sure you are creating displays that inspire your customers.

With 94 million picnics taking place each year, a number that could climb thanks to a predicted two-month heatwave, retailers should use this opportunity to drive basket spend.

Adam Cox, founder of National Picnic Week, says in a time of economic uncertainty and with living costs outweighing wages, picnics offer consumers an alternative to dining out.

“For consumers, preparing a picnic at home with food bought from a local store is fun and can save a fortune,” he explains.

Retailers that merchandise drinks, snacks, sandwiches and desserts together in a themed display can inspire shoppers to buy more.

Alison Flemming, export sales director at wine producer Reh Kendermann, says: “Independent stores should create and promote summer displays as it gives shoppers ideas on when they can enjoy products like wine.” The company recently launched Black Tower Sauvignon Blanc and Blush to its range to drive sales over the summer.

Make it fun

Picnic displays need to be fun, so add sweet treats and summer toys to attract families.

Jonathan Summerley, Hancocks purchasing director, says retailers should bear in mind the sheer size of the potential audience when it comes to merchandising picnic treats.

“Many families planning picnics will be on the lookout for savings, so retailers should stock products like fruity summer Starburst £1 share bags or Hancocks’ Crazy Candy Factory brand’s Sour Shockers bumper bags,” he adds.

Retailers are also seeing success by including healthier treats in their displays. Retailer Oli Lodge, owner of Rusdene Services in Hampshire, says: “Customers are more health conscious and the warnings over sugar content are everywhere. Shoppers want to buy guilt-free treats, so we try to stock healthy items like fruit and nuts, as well as confectionery.”

The final step to making the fixture fun is to include Frisbees, bats, balls, suntan lotion and blankets. “Fifty-three per cent of shoppers would like to pick up a blanket when they’re planning a picnic, so retailers with the space could add that to the fixture with a cool box and toys,” says Michael Holton, brand marketing manager of Addo Food Group.

Retailers should make picnics as easy as possible for customers to buy for, so they have no excuse not to have one.

Retailer View

“At this time of year, with all the demand for eating outdoors, we place a fully-stocked soft drinks chiller next to a chiller filled with sandwiches and snacks, and a fixture of cakes and cookies.

“We surround it with plenty of PoS materials to promote our products and offers, which helps us cash in on the on-the-go trend and mealtimes like picnics.

“The growing health trend is really important at the moment and consumers are definitely making more informed decisions when they buy products for snacks and meals. We make sure we have a range that caters for this.”

Harj Dhasee
Mickleton Village Stores (Nisa)
Gloucestershire