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The seasonal chocolate opportunity

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CCentral-Singled-out-choco4 ways to maximize seasonal chocolate sales:

1. Get there first. Your customers will keep you in mind as a seasonal chocolate destination if you establish your involvement early in the season.

2. Show them what you’ve got. Use POS materials to attract attention to seasonal chocolate displays placed near the cash.

3. Make it matter. The seasons don’t last long, so plan ahead to ensure you’re always in stock on your top seasonal SKUs.

4. Not just for holidays. Centre your offer around other major occasions like the summer season or sporting events to further engage your customers.

Read on for more insights…

Enthusiasm for seasonal chocolate can be found in the Canadian market, where it represents a 38% share of total chocolate across all channels, with sales of more than $670 million in 2013. While this trend isn’t as prevalent in the c-gas channel specifically, with seasonal representing only 4.1% of total chocolate, the strength of this segment in other categories should signal to c-retailers that this is a distinct area of opportunity.

In c-gas, Easter is the largest season; it represents 41% of total seasonal chocolate sales, but also experienced double-digit decline in 2013. Chocolate sales associated with Christmas, however, grew 21% in that same period, and may be a great place to start with seasonal chocolate in the upcoming year.

Why seasonal sells

The holidays are generally a time when consumers are willing to indulge, and a quick chocolate treat is a likely target for this decadence. Customers are also more likely to purchase seasonal chocolate as a treat for their loved ones throughout the holiday season, and as a gift, or add-on to a larger gift, for the holiday itself. Ensure you have the top sellers for each season, and offer a variety of price points, including those under $7, which are not only more receptive to the impulse buy, but can serve as “emergency gifts,” increasing the likelihood of their addition to a shopper’s basket.

Doing it right

Since seasonal items should be located within six feet of the cash (where their impulsivity will be noticed most), creating a small seasonal zone close to the checkout is among the best options for ensuring these SKUs are visible and grouped together for maximum impact.

Taking advantage of display tools like POS signage will help attract attention to your seasonal chocolate SKUs, making this segment a destination for holiday-happy shoppers who crave the exclusivity of a limited-time-only chocolate offer. With the increased interest in these SKUs come holiday time, along with the increased margins (approximately 20-40%), creating a space for this segment can only help provide your customers with the excitement they want at these festive times of year.

Insights provided by Maria DiLeo, category sales development, seasonal lead, Nestlé Canada. Source: Nielsen MarketTrack, period ending Dec. 14, 2013. (Xmas is up until Jan. 11, 2014.)