Single Store Owner

OCT 2016

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74 / Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner / OCTOBER 2016 BIG IDEAS DRINK UP THE SALES Packaged beverages and alcoholic beverages combined captured roughly 22 percent of all in-store sales at convenience stores in 2015. So, it is not an overstatement to say what's in your cold vault can drive up an overstatement to say what's in your cold vault can drive up customer customer counts and cash register rings. At the fifth-annual Convenience Store News Beverage & Beer Retailing Summit, which took place in June, Jon Bratta, vice president of marketing for convenience distributor Core- Mark International Inc., John Roach, vice presi- dent of merchandising for Eby-Brown Co. LLC, and Lance Smith, senior account manager at McLane Co. Inc., sat down for a "Distributors Super Panel" and offered up these best practices for the cooler: • Never be out of stock; • Partner with your distributor on promotional planning; • Merchandise the category's offerings in the right spot inside the store; and • Be on-trend and be fast. "If a customer cannot find that destination product, you will short- circuit that shopping trip," Bratta said. As for the current trends, beverage sales are being nourished lately by better-for-you drinks such as water, premium juice and milk, according to Smith, who said these three segments are succeeding at the expense of carbonated soft drinks. "It's really no different with beverages than it is with the rest of the store," added Roach, echoing the push toward better-for-you options. INVESTING IN YOUR EMPLOYEES Product promotions, new foodservice of- ferings and rewards programs can all drive brand recognition, but a convenience store's best asset is its employees. "We have this philosophy that in order for us to be the greatest place to shop, we have to first be the greatest place to work. We use that mantra quite repeatedly here," explained Ari Haseotes, CEO of family-owned convenience store chain Cumberland Farms. To To that end, the Framing- that end, the Framing- ham, Mass.-based retailer has am, ham, Mass.-based retailer has Mass.-based retailer has made extensive investments in training and develop- ment, incentive compensa- tion and benefits, and in communicating with its team team members to ask how members to ask how the company is doing and e the company is doing and company is doing and what can be improved. For example, with its recent shift toward foodservice, Cumberland Farms invested even more aggressively in its team members — from food safety training to guest service training — to make sure the chain is deliver- ing the greatest experience it can via its stores. their marketing strategies. How can retailers bridge the digital capabilities divide? Representatives from industry-leading c-store chains QuickChek Corp. and Kum & Go LC have some advice: employ the right people with the right skills in the right roles; connect objectives with outcomes; and have the budget to support your plan. GETTING DOWN WITH DIGITAL As consumers navigate along the digital highway faster than ever before, many retailers continue to struggle to develop their digital marketing capabilities. According to new research conducted jointly by Convenience Store News, Balvor LLC and Brick Meets Click, less than one in three retailers indicate that digital marketing — at least the w the way they're leveraging it — is working well to support

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