Traditionally, winter’s a game of two halves in retail, with the Christmas season being all about indulgence, entertaining and premium, whilst in January and February, health and practicality take over as shoppers face the reality of their Christmas excess’s. However, because of Covid related Government restrictions things are likely to be very different this year. But as with much of 2020, this presents strong opportunities for the convenience retailer, who is uniquely placed at the heart of their community to capitalise on the shift to shopping local, and bring much needed festive cheer to the more vulnerable members of their community.
In 2020, The Grocer reported 62% of adults in the UK had purchased plant milk. Source
We know Shopper mindsets change rapidly after Christmas into a health and wellness focus, and for a number of years we’ve seen increases in sales of Green Tea, and Fruit and Herbal Infusions as well as other healthier options such as vegetables and soups. In recent years, January has become synonymously known as “Veganuary”, with many people adopting a vegan diet at the start of the year. Ensure you have product offerings for shoppers seeking vegan food, or looking to scratch cook, keep vegetable stocks in good supply and think about stocking non-dairy and meat-free alternatives too.
With the shift towards health and wellness, protecting our home hygiene has greatly risen in importance since the pandemic. Trying to protect ourselves and our families from the virus is a shopper priority with 72% of consumers cleaning more frequently. Focus on the recognisable brands as shoppers seek products they trust, in 2020 branded Household Cleaning sales grew by 60%, and merchandise by room for ease of shop. Check out our home cleaning ranging and merchandising advice here. Click here to see more Home Cleaning Advice
January has always been a time for budgeting and cutting back, and with 1 in 4 people in the UK currently furloughed, this emphasis will be even more apparent in 2021. What’s more, people are saving and budgeting more in case of recession and job losses. So, try to give your shoppers assurance that your store offers them great value through price mark packs on recognisable brands, smaller product sizes for reduced available spend and affordable meal fillers. Source
Given the unprecedented amount of changes in 2020, and enormous shift in shopping habits, the start of 2021 is a good opportunity to evaluate and adapt to your shopper’s new needs. Key priorities of keeping your staff and customers safe will remain a primary requirement, offer superior store cleaning and hygiene stations on arrival to increase trust and loyalty to your store. Adjust your product offering to consider what your shoppers want in value, but also be sure to give them opportunities for indulgence and treating. Finally, social distancing measures have meant loneliness figures have doubled since the start of the pandemic, local community stores have increased in their importance for human contact and interaction, consider ways to interact with your community and build customer relationships. Source
Make Events BIG
Winter days coupled with Covid restrictions mean shoppers are looking to their local convenience stores to offer special occasion moments to have at home, and to purchase quickly and easily! Events such as Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day and Mother’s Day offer convenience retailers even bigger opportunities this year compared with previous years. By creating themed fixtures they can ensure these special occasions stand out in-store and make them easier to shop, so that convenience shoppers are more likely to make an impulsive or distress purchase if the need state of the event is called out clearly and emotively.
Winter days coupled with Covid restrictions mean shoppers are looking to their local convenience stores to offer special occasion moments to have at home, and to purchase quickly and easily! Events such as Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day and Mother’s Day offer convenience retailers even bigger opportunities this year compared with previous years. By creating themed fixtures they can ensure these special occasions stand out in-store and make them easier to shop, so that convenience shoppers are more likely to make an impulsive or distress purchase if the need state of the event is called out clearly and emotively. Image of themed in-store display
It’s not just your customers who need a refresh. 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for convenience retailers, but one where many have experienced sales increases that they would never have imagined. January presents a good opportunity for retailers to look closely at the business and evaluate and plan what improvements can be made. If their hard work and commitment in 2020 has paid dividends in sales, now might be a good time to revisit and update your business plan (see our business plan template here) and decide how best to invest these back into the business to ensure that it is evolving and able to match their customers’ expectations and needs. It’s also a good opportunity to review your staff by organising staff appraisals (see our staff appraisals form here), as this will give you a great opportunity to reward the hardest workers that helped you through the pandemic, as well as discuss what improvements and changes can be made in-store – remember your staff represent you and your business with your customers. Additionally, take the time to reassess the local area and competition – what more could you be doing? Perhaps carry out a customer survey (see our customer survey form here) to make sure you are providing what they want from your store, and get new ideas for development? What new initiatives could you bring into store to boost profits? Last but certainly not least, review your fixtures and ensure you are stocking the right products and presenting them the right why. Our latest advice reflects the significant changes in shopper behaviour that have taken place over the last year and its important your range reflects these changes.
For more inspiration, why not check out Get your Store in Shape and How to stand out from the crowd
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