Single Store Owner

JAN-FEB 2016

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 / / 33 tions and flavor blasts have been driving value, and about 16 percent of all volume in the category is flavor blasts, Jeffrey Rossi, senior director of trade marketing at Swisher International, told Single Store Owner. "Two-pack pouches and three-pack pouches dominate the market — representing around 60 percent — and there has been a decline in five-packs and singles," he noted. Marketing & Promotion Staying on top of new products and trends, and then bringing them into the store for testing are the first steps to success. However, merchandis- ing, marketing and promoting the items play a big role in sales for operators as well. Many manufactur- ers offer promotional materials and displays to help c-store owners sell their products. For single-store operators, staying in touch with their distributors and asking for notice about new products is important, according to Willard Bishop's Hertel. Many distributors have this information readily available, and operators need to be on top of it to ensure they can get the products as soon as they are out, especially for seasonal items that have a small window of sale and promotion time. "Given the impor- tance of new products, the more active a single-store operator is in asking for things, the better off they will be," Hertel said. "Ask for signage and shelf danglers. Manufacturers create a ton of promotional mate- rial and this can be really helpful in generating in-store awareness." In studies examining how to bring custom- ers into the convenience store from the fuel pump, Instantly found signage in the window is key c-store categories, including snacks, beverages and candy. "Healthy alternative is the keyword driving in- novation," said Carla Boyington, director of category management at Core-Mark International Inc., a convenience distributor based in San Francisco. Instantly Inc., an audience and consumer insight research company based in Encino, Calif., ranks the top 10 new CPG products each month by consumer intent to purchase. While on shopping trips, con- sumers discover and report new products and what they think of them to Instantly — approximately 8,000 per day and around 1,100 from c-stores, ac- cording to Justin Wheeler, vice president of prod- uct innovation at Instantly. Based on its research, on-the-go snacking, especially healthier options, has seen significant new product innovation. "We see c-stores with organic yogurt and nuts that we might have only seen in a Whole Foods during years prior," Wheeler said, explaining yogurt is becoming more of a staple than a trend, espe- cially Greek yogurt. "C-stores are now realizing the healthier component might be why shoppers come in the door and it drives repeat visits." Meat snacks also continue to be popular and are seeing innovation, with offerings featuring turkey, chicken and pork, Core-Mark's Boyington said. And in a crossover between snacks and candy, confection companies are introducing new, healthier snack bars, specifically Brookside bars by The Her- shey Co. and goodnessknows bars by Mars Choco- late North America. "These bars are new to the category and satisfy consumers looking for better-for-you or products perceived as better," McLane's Matos pointed out. "Better-for-you is more than a passing trend. When we talk to retailers about who their consumer is com- ing into the store, more times than not, they need better-for-you options." After snacking, the No. 2 category where Instantly is finding the most innovation is packaged beverages. This includes new juices, vita- min water and coconut water. Packaging is also evolving, with the ability to take items into a car and reseal them gaining traction, according to Wheeler. Additionally, com- panies are experimenting more with unique and ethnic flavors, such as curry-flavored snacks and jasmine or rose water. Other categories in the store, such as tobacco, carry their own trends. In cigars, limited edi- " Given the importance of new products, the more active a single-store operator is in asking for things, the better of they will be. Ask for signage and shelf danglers. Manufacturers create a ton of promotional material and this can be really helpful in generating in-store awareness. " — Jim Hertel, Willard BisHop

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