WHITE PAPER HOW BRANDS CAN CAPITALISE ON THE GROWING CONVENIENCE SECTOR

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2 Executive Summary With the rapidly changing consumer habits in recent the years the convenience sector has risen to be the fastest growing sector of the UK grocery industry. Figures out this April reported a 5.2% year on year increase generating 37.4bn of sales in Brands are therefore racing to keep up with the enormous opportunities this trend presents. In this white paper we discuss how the convenience sector has grown so rapidly, why it matters to brands, and what they can do about it. 37.4bn SALES 2013/14 5.2% YEAR ON YEAR INCREASE The paper includes advice on the three major considerations: visibility, availability and timing; and shares some insight into five practical steps every brand can undertake to improve: Promotion Range and NPD Packaging Retailer Relationship Price It then concludes by examining the critical role played by field marketing as the last pair of hands that influences a brand s success in this competitive marketplace.

3 The rise of the convenience sector One of the unique selling points of the convenience store is the combination of accessibility with extended opening hours. Even in the age of the 24-hour opening times operated by the big four, convenience stores still perform well thanks to their locations and long opening hours. Alongside this, convenience stores are not subject to the Sunday trading hours, giving them a strong advantage over the supermarkets. This year there was a 1% increase in the number of convenience stores with the total number standing at 47,294. IGD reported this increase as due to the continued slowdown in the decline of unaffiliated independents and the continued growth of multiples and symbol groups. The symbol groups still have the lion s share of the convenience market at 15.5bn with 34.5% of stores. As the decline of unaffiliated independents continues, the symbol groups are continuing to attract new members. 47,294 TOTAL NUMBER OF CONVENIENCE STORES The biggest increase has been seen in the convenience multiples, with 451 new stores opening up (April ) a 13.6% year on year increase. The big four have been investing in the convenience sector by occupying prime retail sites, however despite the strong growth they only represent 7.6% of stores with 19.4% of market share. 451 NEW STORES OPENED

4 Why is the convenience sector so crucial for a brand? The convenience sector is absolutely critical for brands and the growth of the sector is consistently outperforming the grocery sector with a predicted value in excess of 46billion by April 2018 according to IGD. With growth of 5.2% reported this year compared to a 10-year record low in the rest of the grocery market, brands need to sit up and listen to the needs of the convenience sector. Shoppers habits have changed; the weekly food shop is being replaced by little-and-often habits helping deliver growth in the convenience market. Longer working hours, smaller household sizes and budgets and ease of access are all playing into the hands of the convenience stores. 46 BILLION PREDICTED VALUE OF SECTOR BY 2018 The popularity of the convenience sector is set to continue and brands need to have a strong focus and strategy for the sector in order to maximise its potential. The challenge for brands is a difficult one to ensure exposure across 47,000 outlets in a competitive sector where space is at a premium. WHERE SPACE ENSURING EXPOSURE IS AT A PREMIUM Customers expect the same availability of brands in convenience stores as they do in the supermarket, and inaccessibility can easily turn them off a brand and onto a competitor. With limited shelf space and stock room capacity it is vital that the right balance is found for both the retailer and supplier ultimately ensuring that product is readily available to the consumer.

5 Availability, visibility and timing As the number of convenience stores in the UK rises at around five per cent year on year, the pressure for brands to be seen and consumed within this sector is key for survival and longevity in the marketplace. When it comes to ensuring a brand s product succeeds within this fast-paced sector, the three critical considerations are: Availability Visibility Timing Cathy Evans, managing director of Tactical Solutions, explains: In a crowded marketplace every single brand is bringing out NPD in rapid response to customer behaviour and trends. With competitive offers and meal deals becoming the norm, it is vital that the brand representatives are communicating with the retailers to ensure that the correct products are given the shelf and promotional space required. Also that the products the consumer demands are what is visible in the convenience store. The location of a product in a store can make a crucial difference in the sales impact for the brand. Eye level shelving is seen as the location that has most impact, followed by waist level. However it is impossible to ensure that all of a brands products are located at eye level, therefore factors such as packaging, offers and size of product are all taken into consideration when deciding shelf space. For example a large two-litre bottle of juice would be better placed lower on the shelf as people may have problems lifting the heavy product from the high shelf space. Also, when targeting children, lower shelves are essential for reaching this market, as the product needs to be visible to its targeted audience.

6 Availability, visibility and timing One of the key drivers for maximising potential sales is to ensure that a brand has permanent visibility within the store, through the correct and agreed shelf space, but also creating off shelf displays in a bid to maximise any impulse purchasing from the consumer. Cathy Evans says: Visibility is key, even when it seems a brand can t get any more product or space in the convenience store there are always ways to increase a product s presence. Initiatives such as POS and off shelf displays that have been carefully placed in a high footfall area will draw attention back to a product. A clever promotional offer surrounded by an enticing merchandising display will ensure the product is noticed and draw the attention away from competitors. As well as visibility, a brand needs to take into consideration timing and availability. The convenience store consumer is a quick buyer; they want to be in and out so it s essential that the appropriate product is available when the consumer demands it and that it is easily accessible. Timing is crucial for brands, especially during peak seasons such as Christmas. Consumers are not going to be doing a big Christmas shop in the convenience store - that is for the Big Four to fight out - therefore the product availability and timing needs to be different and meet a completely unique set of criteria. For example, there is always a need for the last minute purchase. Last year people spent on average 33 on last minute purchases in the run up to December 25. This is only set to increase, therefore convenience stores need to capitalise on this potential purchasing opportunity by offering competitive promotions on products the week before Christmas. 33 SPENT ON AVERAGE ON LAST MINUTE PURCHASES AT CHRISTMAS Multiples and convenience stores are constantly evolving to meet the needs of the consumer and to keep up with customer buying habits. However as the sector continues to grow, retailers are coming to the realisation that no two convenience stores are the same. Owing to changing customer demographics and locations, implementing the same product range across each brand is no longer a viable concept. Therefore there is a need to adapt to the local shopper in order for the store to be a success. Ensuring the product lines that are available in the store are tailored and aimed at the customer within a two to three mile radius will significantly benefit both the customer and the retailer.

7 Five Steps to creating visibility Every brand wants its product on the shelves to go pow and be the one the consumer reaches for. The only true way to create this level of awareness is through visibility, a necessity within the convenience sector when every product is vying for the best shelf space and the amount of opportunity is limited. As a field sales agency, Tactical Solutions works closely with brands to ensure that the product s specific criteria are met when choosing shelf space, plus that it is also aligned with the retailer s requirements. To maximise potential visibility within the convenience sector the following steps should be implemented: 1 Promotion As the consumer s buying habits change this has noticeably impacted the growth of the convenience stores across the UK. People, more than ever, are shopping little and often instead of planning their meals for the week ahead. What is often seen in the convenience store is how it is used a top-up, for example if the supermarket was out of something or the customer needs to buy an extra added ingredient. This is when a convenience store is the perfect solution. Brands and retailers need to collaborate on this by demonstrating that their product represents real value for money. Targeted promotions, cross product promotions and localised offers, all supported with clever and enticing merchandising can really enhance both the retailers and brands customer base. There has been a rise in interactive promotions and offers throughout Thanks to more consumers utilising their local convenience store the personal relationship between the retailer and shopper is becoming stronger and more trusted. This means that certain promotions such as over the counter offers can be capitalised on, compared to the same offer at a busy supermarket till. Using in-store promotions is always a good way of generating more visibility in store especially when the retailer will not agree to a permanent increase in a brand s shelf space. Therefore to increase space by promoting the product for a limited time only, gives it the time required to show the potential it has, as well as the increased demand from the consumer. Seasons such as Christmas and school holidays are always strong opportunities to run promotions, however it s essential that the offer is relevant to the timing and localised audience. What must be taken into consideration when committing to a promotion is that the brand needs to increase its stock level to meet the expected additional demand. Otherwise the brand will run the risk of a disappointing performance and incurring a low visibility within the store.

8 Five Steps to creating visibility 2 Retailer relationship Building a relationship with a retailer is always a long process, the role of the store manager is very demanding and every minute of their working day is accounted for. However this relationship is crucial to ensuring that a brand s product is given the space that it deserves and needs in the store. The brand s representative needs to get the retailer on board with the product, they need to support it and want it to do well in their store. Without these key elements the product will be not be given the space and opportunity that is needed to succeed. A retailer wants a brand s sales team to be informative, helpful and to care about the success of the overall store, not just how a singular product is doing. Securing extra visibility in store is always a challenge, therefore a brand needs to build a profit story for the retailer, share information and potential opportunities. With informative data, brands have the power to drive and influence the amount of shelf space available. Understanding the product and consumer is crucial. However what is also essential to building a relationship with the retailer is understanding the competitor. A brand needs to be able to anticipate competitor activity: by looking at their data and previous sales history within that store, it may be able to predict when they are planning a similar offer. At this point the brand s representative needs to get any promotions on its products to launch before this, taking the market share away and significantly decreasing the impact of any competitors upcoming promotional activity. The retailer relationship is at the heart of securing the best visibility for a brand s product. Get this right and the retailer will support your product, leading to more product availability, shelf space and unique POS opportunities - resulting in an increased potential for the consumer to buy your product. 3 Range and NPD Sales of new products are at their highest in the six weeks post launch, therefore it is essential to maximise visibility and sales opportunity during that period. By building a strong relationship with a retailer, a brand should have the full support of the store to make the new line a success. It is therefore important to capitalise on this with POS displays throughout the store. Hot zones, dump bins and end shelf displays prove time and time again to be the perfect opportunity to increase awareness, trial and most importantly sales. Within a convenience store there is more opportunity for a brand to increase its visibility through range extension, compared to that of a multiple. There is more control given to the store s team, meaning there are not as many restrictions and pre-agreed terms for a brand s product line. This gives a brand the opportunity to pitch case by case to each individual store, demonstrating how increasing the range on the shelf can generate additional revenue.

9 Five Steps to creating visibility 4 Packaging Often the leading brands will perform well in the convenience sector, however this does not essentially mean that there is no longer the need for more shelf space. The desire to maximise opportunity to purchase is a recurring aim. Therefore a selection of simple yet effective initiatives can be installed to increase visibility, such as larger pack sizes or sharer bags, something that we see across the confectionery sector thanks to the increased demand and trend for the Big Night In. For this to be a success, there must be a market opportunity from the specific audience, plus a brand needs to ensure that the new packaging does not negatively affect the sales of the original product. 5 Price Ensuring you have the correct range and price for your relevant audience is crucial. In the current economic climate, consumers do not expect to pay a premium on products from the convenience sector. The shopper wants to see the same price led offers that feature heavily in the multiples, in their local store.

10 The importance of field marketing in the sector As the convenience sector continues to grow at a rapid rate, with more than 50,000 stores expected in the UK by the end of 2014, there is a growing pressure from brands to drive sales and succeed within the sector. Shelf space in a convenience store is a premium commodity, therefore achieving more visibility has to be carefully considered by the retailer, making it essential that the brand presents a convincing and relevant case on how the store can achieve additional revenue. Reaching out and building relationships with each individual store is a time consuming activity, therefore a highly trained field sales manager who has the right level of skill, expertise and knowledge, is brought in to be a brand ambassador for a region. By doing this brands can create those strong, longstanding relationships with the individual retailers, which is crucial to a product s success within the store. 50 THOUSAND STORES BY THE END OF 2014 Generating additional shelf space is key to driving a significant uplift in sales; it is at the heart of everything a field sales team does. However for this to be a success each representative needs to ensure they have access to the following: SUCCESS Product that is readily available Clever & enticing marketing Relevant products for the local audience Competitive information to share with individual retailers Armed with the above tools, a representative has the chance to directly alter shopper behaviour and create additional revenue for the store and brand.

11 The importance of field marketing in the sector Brands need to arm their sales team with a wealth of knowledge and an in-depth understanding of each store. However what is key for this to succeed is communication between the sales representative and the retailer. They need to be able to give relevant and real time statistics to the store s team during each visit. This information is vital to driving sales opportunities, but for also gaining the trust and respect of the store. Each retailer needs to feel assured that what a sales manager is proposing will benefit the store profit and be something that the local consumer requires. As one of the leading UK field sales agencies, Tactical Solutions understands the importance and relevance of influencing the decision making process on store level. Seen as the last pair of hands to touch a brand before it is purchased by the consumer, Tactical s sales team understand the vital role they play in communicating and building relationships with the individual stores. Being armed with the correct tools and knowledge, the team has the chance to open up new opportunities and drive sales for the brand by ensuring its product is the one that is put in the basket. About Tactical Solutions Tactical Solutions is a field sales and marketing company. It was founded in 2000, and is now part of the UK s largest marketing services group, St Ives plc. The company employs 280 staff. Its nationwide team of fully employed managers have successful and long-term relationships with retail channels from multiple supermarkets to convenience and cash & carry warehouses. Tactical works to improve sales and availability for its clients across all sectors, from food & drink, clothing and pharmacies to DIY. CLIENTS Heinz Innocent Burtons Britvic FOUNDED 2000 STAFF PART OF St Ives plc. Clients include Heinz, Innocent, Burtons and Britvic. 280

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