With 30 fuel pumps at Paz Fuels in Abbotsford, BC, fuel is definitely at the top of the sales list. But when customers come in store, general manager Jovian Wiefelspuett says they’re most often looking to make a chocolate purchase, and when they do, they tend to go big.
“Our top sellers right now are the larger bars that are doubles, and those are on the top shelves at the front of the store. We also have a lot more options when it comes to peg bags than we’ve ever had before,” says Wiefelspuett.
Here are four things you should keep in mind when it comes to the shareable chocolate category, which consists of tablet and pieces SKUs in the c-gas channel:
1. Stay on trend.
“We try to stay on top of new formats so we can offer them to customers,” says Wiefelspuett, noting new innovative packaging from Nestlé’s Smarties, and the tablet bars recently on promotion in the Paz Fuels monthly flyer as examples.
Zac Staz, chocolate category analyst with Mars Canada, says it’s smart for Wiefelspuett to focus on the growing tablet and pieces categories, which make up 25% of the total chocolate volume in c-gas.
“In convenience and gas, the growth in future consumption has come from tablet (+7%) and pieces (+6%), and we’ve seen considerable innovation in these two areas,” he says, referencing Dairy Milk Creations, and Snickers and Twix Bites as recent examples.
2. Get your assortment right.
Staz advises retailers like Wiefelspuett focus on placement and assortment.
“Shareable formats are often in aisle and off the front ends so it’s important to make it easy for the consumer to find them. Assortment is also critical as space is limited, and having the right assortment of top-performing SKUs will help drive greater volume and keep your customers happy,” says Staz.
That’s why Wiefelspuett takes advantage of time spent with his supplier sales reps. “They’ll come in and make suggestions in regards to product placement and where they’ll be able to perform the best, and we can also track those changes with our POS system.”
3. Participate in major promotions.
Wiefelspuett updates two-for deals and bundling combos on a regular basis, and works with his suppliers, especially when it comes to consumer promotions.
“I believe it’s important to keep all types of customers – regulars, impulse buyers, curious types, and last-minute shoppers – happy and entertained,” he says. “A lot of items are promoted by commercials or ads, and we can capitalize on that by getting customers to try those items, and we can see if they’re worth further promoting and bringing in again.”
4. Encourage employee performance.
Wiefelspuett points to his employees as the crucial link between Paz Fuels and their customers. He offers incentives for staff to talk to customers and upsell SKUs, especially those on promotion.
“One key aspect we find is the importance of our employees making sure customers really understand the product and our mission statement.”
SKU Rankings (based on $ volume):
1. M&MS PEANUT PEG PACK (120g)
2. HERSHEY REESE CHOCOLATE FAMILY BAR (120g)
3. CADBURY DAIRY MILK LARGE (100g)
4. M&MS MILK CHOCOLATE PEG PACK (120 g)
5. CADBURY DAIRY MILK FRUIT & NUT LARGE (100 g)
6. CADBURY CARAMILK LARGE (100g)
7. M&MS PEANUT STAND-UP POUCH (200g)
8. CADBURY MINI EGGS CELLO (188g)
9. M&MS ALMOND CELLO BAG (124g)
10. MARS MALTESERS PEG PACK (100g)
Source: Nielsen Market Track L52 W, P/E March 7, 2015 – C&G Channel