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Is your cold vault ready for spring?


Photo by Kim Goodyear

The weather is warming up outside, which means customers will begin looking to the c-store cold vault for thirst-quenching beverage options. Ensure your cooler is ready with a fresh planogram that focuses on bestsellers, trends and innovation during the warmer months.

Ninety percent of beverages are purchased from the cold vault, so a properly set up planogram is key. It should reflect shoppers’ preferences and organize the categories in a way that simplifies the shopping process. This means allocating cold vault space according to sales, which will change along with the weather.

Categories such as sparkling beverages, sports drinks, iced tea and water tend to have higher sales in the summer months compared with the rest of the year (source: NPD Crest 2012, Nielsen MarketTrack). This means your spring and summer planogram reset should focus on these categories, allotting ample space for the SKUs customers will be looking for.

As always, make sure the top sellers get the most space. For example, sparkling beverages in the immediate consumption category represent 29% of beverage volume, so retailers need to ensure at least 29% of the cooler space is available to showcase this traffic-driving category (source: Nielsen MarketTrack, National Gas Convenience YTD Litres, Nov. 24, 2012). Customers’ focus will also shift to sports drinks, water and iced tea, so your planogram should also make that shift.

When shoppers visit c-stores, they expect to get in and out within minutes. A poorly organized cooler requires beverage consumers to spend more time looking for products, and that can lead to greater dissatisfaction and a reluctance to return. A simple seasonal planogram update will anticipate and cater to these changing demands.

Planograms are not only based on seasonal preferences, but also trends and innovation.

The sport drink and water categories continue to grow in dollars and volume as consumers look for variety and choice (source: Nielsen MarketTrack, National Gas Convenience, Nov. 24, 2012). While the overall juice category continues to decline, 100%-not-from-concentrate juices have experienced significant growth over the last year. These trends should be reflected in your cold vault offering.

Beverage innovation is a key traffic driver, so it’s also important for retailers to showcase new products to capitalize on the higher traffic in the spring and summer. By prominently displaying new products and making the most of manufacturers’ marketing investment in innovation, retailers can grow their sales and profits.

It can be difficult to anticipate trends, which is why retailers should turn to their supplier reps for planogram recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask for cold vault advice. It could just lead to higher sales for you and a better in-store shopping experience for your customers.

Source: Darren White, Director, CR Channel Strategy & Marketing, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Canada

Top tips to make the most of your spring beverage planogram:

1. Focus on the season’s top sellers. Certain SKUs will be more popular in the spring and summer, so ensure your planogram reflects seasonal demands.

2. Allocate space according to sales. Be sure to allot cold vault space according to sales so that bestsellers are given prominence.

3. Allow flex space for innovation. New products can help drive traffic, so keep cooler space available for innovation.

4. Promote with POS. Point-of-sale materials will draw attention to innovative products and promotions.

5. Turn to your sales reps. Leverage their knowledge and take advantage of the suggested planograms.