With school holidays looming and exciting sporting events still to come – from The Ashes (16th Jun-31st Jul), Wimbledon (3rd-16th Jul), The British Grand Prix (7th-9th Jul) and a summer of International Cricket fixtures – there are plenty of opportunities for retailers to help their customers enjoy the summer break.
Keep key categories such as crisps, beer, soft drinks, bagged snacks, Ice-Cream and Table Sauces well-stocked and always have the best-sellers available. Tailor your promotions to suit everyone – think meal solutions for couples, multi buy promotions and family deals.
And don’t forget to flag everything up on social media!
Keep an eye on the weather
The weather forecast is your friend – is this weekend going to be a hot one? Or will it be umbrellas and indoor entertaining? By staying one step ahead, retailers can tailor their in-store promotions based on what their customers will need over the weekend. A sizzling weekend will mean an increased demand for Ice-Creams, BBQ bits such as sausages, burgers and of course Table Sauces.
Does your customer base change in the summer? If you’re close to schools, morning and lunch trade may be quieter in the holidays, so can you make the most of other shopper missions? If you’re in a ‘holiday’ area you may need to revise your range and add in new products (think Food for Now, small packs of Household cleaners for self-catering etc).
Are there any Festivals happening near your store? With an exciting summer ahead packed full of Music Festivals such as Glastonbury (Jun), Wireless Festival (Jul) and Camp Bestival (Jul-Aug) to name a few, opportunities to cater for additional passing customers are great. Think Food to Go, Toiletries such as face-wipes and sun cream and water!
A saucy proposition
When the sun has his hat on, BBQ and picnics offer big opportunities for convenience retailers so make your store a one-stop shop for outdoor eating.
Group BBQ items together, with ketchup, salad dressings and mayonnaise next to the chicken, burgers and salad. Make yourself aware of the Table Sauces best sellers and check you have enough of these in stock. If you have space, add light alternatives and flavoured mayonnaise or new salad dressings for variety –smaller sizes might encourage trial. And make the fixture easy to shop by merchandising by product groups.
Keep a cool head for Ice-Cream sales
School holidays and heat equal an uplift in Ice-Cream sales. These can be up to 60% higher in warm weather so be prepared.
Staying aware of the weather forecast is crucial so you’re always stocked up with the right range – choc snacks and cones, refreshment, kids’ products and indulgence. Give your freezer a clean so it looks as appealing as possible – ‘one product one basket’ is a useful guide.
But, most of all, make sure customers know you sell Ice-Cream. It’s an impulse-driven category so make it visible and make it look good with bright POS material. Use pavement signage or window signs to shout about it and make sure your freezer is clearly visible in store.
Get up close and personal
In hot weather, people think more about personal hygiene – and they don’t want to run out of key toiletry items – which means potential profits for you.
People need to know you sell Toiletries though. Use POS to highlight the fixture, or try clip strips or small display units.
Go for breadth of range rather than depth, but always stock the best-sellers. The fixture has to be tidy and merchandised clearly so shoppers can find what they want quickly and easily. Separating out men’s products could also boost sales and don’t forget Father’s Day on the 19th Jun.
Get social – online and in person
Try making use of Social Media to get your shoppers to tell you what the ‘taste of summer’ is for them. Find out what they love to eat/drink in warmer months and think about stocking it.
And, as warmer weather brings people outside, summer events can present a great opportunity for independent retailers. Are there any events locally you could tie into? Or could you organize one yourself – perhaps a community event to strengthen your involvement in the community and get yourself known? What about holding a tasting day and bringing in local suppliers?
Gearing up for school
It may seem a long way off now but that return to school time has a habit of creeping up quickly.
Think bread, spreads and sandwich fillings for packed lunches and make sure your dressings and condiments feature is well stocked. Don’t forget after school and lunchbox snacks either.
Focus on the key meal for tonight opportunity, as busy parents getting back to the school routine after the summer holidays will appreciate being able to pick up all the ingredients for a meal in one place. Try to merchandise all the elements of a meal next to each other – the meat, pasta, vegetables and sauce, for example – or use signage. And start planning a few meal deal promotions to boost basket spend.
And when it’s quiet…
Mid year is also a good time to take stock of your business. Review your successes and staff performance, check out the local competition and assess your business plan to see if it needs tweaking. You will find templates in the business tools section to help you with business planning and staff assessment.