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Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter represent three opportunities for convenience retailers to cash in on.Joseph Lee finds out three ways to drive sales.
Get started with impulse
When it comes to spring, it pays to start early with impulse lines, as these are driving 80% of the growth in spring confectionery. This is partly because they are on the shelves for such a long period, with sales now beginning to start as early as December.
“The key to a great Easter season is to be prepared early,” says Aislinn Campbell, Easter brand manager at Mondelez International. “Shoppers are looking to buy a seasonal treat for themselves and their family to build excitement at the start and throughout the season,” she explains.
Impulse confectionery in the run-up to Easter is purchased by 68% of households, according to Nestlé Confectionery.
Sales are increasingly taking place early in the season, which accounted for 41% of sales last year. Early season shoppers are also likely to buy repeatedly. You should identify the shoppers who buy spring confectionery early on in the season and then recommend higher value lines to them later on.
Make sure you use secondary sitings for single lines, particularly near the counter where impulse sales are most effective.
Appealing themed displays can help boost impulse sales, with 60% of shoppers saying that seasonal packaging influences their purchases.
You should make sure your displays are eye-catching and in a place where all your shoppers will see them.
Bring shoppers together with sharing packs
By February, you should make sure you are stocking sharing packs for families to enjoy together. “Shoppers are looking to buy sharing products for guests and their children to build excitement in the run up to Easter,” says Mondelez’ Aislinn Campbell.
In spring, mini eggs dominate the sharing category, with a value of more than £73m. Over the past five years, sales have surged by 55.5%, with 16% growth last year.
That’s why Cadbury Mini Eggs are facing competition from manufacturers such as Nestlé, which is launching Orange Smarties Mini Eggs, and mixed sharing bags of Smarties and Milky Bar Mini Eggs to take advantage of the trend.
The company says larger family sharing bags of around 300g are increasing sales, with 60% of shoppers being new to the mini eggs category.
Boxed chocolates have an important role to play in trading shoppers up. Boxed chocolates that contain the same variety, such as Ferrero Rocher, tend to be brought to share at gatherings, while those that are made up of different types of chocolates are more likely to be given as a gift that is consumed later.
Levi Boorer, customer development director for Ferrero, says: “Our new Ferrero Pralines and Thorntons Boxed Chocolates ranges will cater for shoppers that are buying for these two key shopper missions.”
You should also consider cross-merchandising sharing confectionery with other sharing products to increase basket spend. Russell Goldman, buying director at Manchester-based wholesaler Rayburn, says: “Retailers can capitalise on the popularity of sweet treats by stocking sharing bags and putting together ‘night in’ deals.”
Cash in on gifts
Gifts are an essential part of spring confectionery that account for 60% of chocolate sales during the season. Boxed chocolates on Mother’s Day, heart-shaped novelties on Valentine’s Day and premium Easter eggs can help you drive sales.
Last year, gift sales increased by 7.7%, with shell eggs making up the majority of sales. “Retailers should ensure they stock a range of small, medium, large and luxury eggs to cater for all ages and budgets,” says Lauren George, brand and trade PR manager at Mars Chocolate and Wrigley.
You should group gift-worthy products together in a display that combines products such as cards and flowers for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Gift lines should be introduced between four and six weeks from the occasion.
Premium products are likely to benefit from increased sales as shoppers look for a special gift as 70% of customers say they value quality over quantity when it comes to chocolate. Nestlé says sales in the premium egg category grew by 5.8% last Easter.
While it pays to start early, Easter sales peak right at the end of the season, with many customers leaving it to the last minute and 50% of sales take place in the final three weeks.
You should make sure you are constantly reviewing your ordering so that you do not run out of stock, but also are not left with additional lines that will have to be sold at a reduced price after the occasion.
“We sell all of the Malteaster bunny lines, Cadbury Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs. Creme Eggs are the biggest sellers, along with the Malteaster bunnies. We site them by the till and we normally put a promotional bin near there as well, so when people are queuing, they might pick it up.
“We try and make sure there is always a deal. Now we’ve got Creme Eggs on two for £1, but as the season progresses we’ll put them on for three for £1.
“Normally we introduce seasonal impulse lines in January, but they started to come in before Christmas, so we introduced some lines on shelf in December.”
Meten Lakhani St Mary’s Supermarket Southampton
“The early bird catches the worm: people just buy it.”“For Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, boxed chocolates do well. But at Easter, because of Mini Eggs, sharing packs tend to sell fast.
“We have a seasonal promotion bay and when it’s Easter, we put little chicks and bunnies there. We have soft toys to sell as well.
“We’ve start selling impulse lines in December, and then we bring small Easter eggs out in January.
“Last year, I stocked big bags of Quality Street and Celebrations, which sold at the same rate as a normal tin would do.”
Soban Shanmuganathan Burgess Stores Goudhurst, Kent
“Our most popular lines are boxed chocolates and eggs. Nestlé Dairy Box seems to be particularly strong in spring and Ferrero Rocher always does well.
“I’ve found in the past three years that luxury products seem to be growing for us, and that’s where we tend to focus our efforts.
“In recent years, we’ve been selling more and more chocolate bunnies. We introduced £35 giant bunnies last year, which weighed about 1kg, and we sold five of them. I was really surprised.
“We get them in around February and get some early sales, but it’s more about getting it in people’s minds. For a lot of shoppers, purchasing is still really last minute.”
Kamal Sisodia WH Smith Local, Coalville, Leicestershire
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