The sun’s out and that usually means customers are too.

Over the past few years we’ve never really had to try too hard to get them to spend in store during the summer months, thanks to the multitude of events (Olympics World Cup, Queen’s Jubilee etc) to latch on to, but without any of that this summer, we might have to work a bit harder on our store offer than usual.

The need to write this column actually got me thinking as to what I would be doing this summer to create customer interest and increase sales in my stores.

Firstly, there’s the obvious – making sure we have the right range, targeted promotions and enough stock to cater for any extra demand.

And then there’s the usual such as the gondola ends, but rather than dressing them up for sporting occasions and events like usual, they will be have a more general summer and barbecue feel, with a mix of alcohol, snacks, confectionery, barbecue goods and promos aimed at the ‘big night in’ and barbecue shopper.

Also during the summer months we tend to introduce more summery lines and extensions to ranges such as extra flavours of soft drinks or ciders – some of which launch limited editions especially for summer. Having these lines in stock creates incremental sales as it not only attracts new customers to the products but encourages existing ones that have already bought into a product to try a new flavour and increase their basket spend. The extra rate of summer sales allows us to do this without having date issues like we would in the winter.

We’ll also be rolling out secondary sitings for our impulse ice cream in the guise of compact freezer units, which we site near our chocolate and snacks displays in order to tempt shoppers.

Another new idea we are trying to work on this summer is through the purchase and siting of a new slim upright lockable chiller just for champagne and sparkling wine.

Sparkling wines, especially prosecco, have seen a huge surge in demand recently as a cheaper alternative to champagne and now we are seeing more premium brands being introduced in to the market with price tags as expensive as champagne.

The only problem is that customers often prefer it chilled and theft has always been an issue with doing so. But with the new unit being lockable we envisage selling a lot more premium bottles than we would do from behind the counter and hopefully some more strawberries to go with them.

Get ideas for growing your sales this summer on our wall of ideas.