Pricemarking has journeyed from controversial margin killer to vital convenience staple in recent years – but why does it remain such a central industry strategy year after year? Priyanka Jethwa investigates 

Reason 1

Having a wide range of pricemarked items tells your shoppers something about your whole business
Offering a varied range of pricemarked items can help convince shoppers the rest of your store is good value for money, encouraging them to come back. Lucozade Ribena Suntory is one company which has shown a commitment to pricemarking and its sales director Scott Meredith says this is a key part of the company’s strategy: “They not only demonstrate value to your soft drinks shoppers but can be beneficial for sales elsewhere in store too.” 

Reason 2

Even the most much-loved brands are embracing pricemarks
“Burton’s Biscuit Company was among the first companies to introduce pricemarked packs,” says Mandy Bobrowski, marketing director at Burton’s Biscuits. The company continues to show commitment to the strategy with pricemarked versions of Jammie Dodgers, Maryland Cookies and Wagon Wheels. The company says pricemarking its products is a great way to drive impulse purchases and, therefore, retailers’ profits.   

Reason 3

Customers are actively searching for pricemarked items 
There can be a temptation to believe that pricemarking encourages shoppers to buy on an almost subconscious level but research commissioned by Global Brands (which manufactures VK, Hooch and Flare pre-mix cocktails) shows 82% of shoppers are actively searching for pricemarked packs and 61% believe them to offer better value. This insight has guided its own strategy for independents, according to Christian Saginson, brand controller at the company: “The Global Brands range of pricemarked packs are available solely in independent stores, setting them apart from multiples grocers and larger stores.” 

Reason 4

Pocket money and pricemarks remain a natural mix
With pennies burning in their pockets, children have long seen their local shop as the best place to spend their pocket money. Pricemarked sweets, such as Swizzels’ Super 6 10p range, fit the bill and manufacturer Swizzels has worked hard to create a range of material to help stores capitalise. Mark Walker, sales director at Swizzles, says the dump bins the company has made available are “guaranteed to catch the eye of shoppers”.

Reason 5

Retailers can use their own skills and knowledge to drive sales further
To further catch the attention of shoppers, having clearly signposted promotions alongside pricemarks is crucial. Bob Sykes, of Denmore Premier Food & Wine Store in Denbighshire, says he is currently running a deal on four bottles of Volvic 500ml for £1, and promotions like these encourage customers to explore the rest of the store and increase overall basket spend. “The key is getting the display right – I double it up by placing items on promotion both at the front of the store and dotted around,” he says.

Reason 6

Suppliers are bringing pricemarked options to fast-growing categories such as chilled
Chilled produce is increasingly considered a must-stock category for store owners and the top suppliers are already up to speed with the importance of pricemarking. Rustlers is one such brand and Angela Daulby, channel director at Kepak, says the company understands the “key role” pricemarks play in the market. This is a strategy the company expects to continue with in the long term. “The price sensitivity shown by shoppers is set to continue and retailers will benefit by offering pricemarked products with sustained, heavyweight marketing support,” she says.

Reason 7

Pricemarking is going premium
Premium brands have been creeping into the world of pricemarking for a long time – as early as 2013, Pernod Ricard released a pricemarked version of Absolut vodka. Since then the trend has spread, however, suggesting that the pricemark has well and truly lost any stigma which might have stopped premium brands using it in the past. Rustlers, for one, has looked to attract new customers with its Gourmet range but has kept steadfastly to its pricemarking strategy. Both the Classic Burger and the BBQ Burger are available with a £3 pricemark. 

Reason 8

Pricemarks have adapted alongside shopper behaviour
The rise in popularity of staying in – whether with friends or family – means consumers are looking now more than ever for sharing pricemarked bags of confectionery and blocks of chocolate, industry insiders say. Sharing confectionery bags like Mars’ Maltesers and M&M’s, available in £1 pricemark treat bags, remain in growth in a tough market for confectionery and the company is positioning them as the “perfect treat for a night in” which also offers value for money. Sarah Nandhra, of Loco Carlos in Leeds, says confectionery sharing bags that are pricemarked at £1 are extremely popular, especially since she has three schools nearby. 

Reason 9

Pricemarking has gone veggie
More of us are choosing meat-free options (up to 10m customers according to Kantar), so offering a great range of vegetarian options is more and more vital for stores of all sizes. An additional benefit of switching away from meat can be saved pennies and Quorn is one company which is using this to its advantage, providing pricemarked stock to the convenience channel – particularly as big brand vegetarian options have long been sold at a discount at stores such as Iceland. Quorn’s Crispy Nuggets and Quorn Pieces, both pricemarked at £2.29, are two great examples.