ATLANTA — New research by Coca-Cola Co. suggests there is ample opportunity for convenience-store retailers to sell more packaged beverages and fresh foods.
“Sixty-six percent of all convenience-store visits include a food or beverage item intended for immediate consumption. That’s a lot,” Jim Dinkins, chief retail sales officer of Coca-Cola Co., told CSP Daily News. “But the point of this study is to point out how many people aren’t buying a beverage that could be. It’s about getting that conversion.”
The findings come from Coca-Cola Co.’s Knowledge & Insights group’s latest proprietary Individual Shopping Habits, Occasions and Perceptions (iSHOP) tracking study on immediate consumption (IC) food and beverages in convenience retail.
The key to “unleashing the power of the IC trip” is providing quick and easy solutions that can be put together in minutes.
“Convenience stores have a wider variety of beverages than any restaurant you’ll ever go to,” Dinkins said. “It’s about: How do you make it easier for the customer to find them or pair them with food?”
Some of the ways the study suggests to do that:
Focus on Solutions
IC shoppers are less likely to plan ahead and more likely to rely on the store for ideas (and even pay more to save time). They want retailers to build meal and snack ideas for them, merchandised together and messaged to inspire. The most engaged IC shoppers tend to be male and do only a portion of the household’s shopping—so help them out!
Make it Mobile
Because the IC trip typically involves less planning, it can be enriched and enabled with proximity marketing and mobile offers that reach shoppers at retail. And because these shoppers are on the go and often not heading home after a trip, proximity marketing and mobile offers are best paired with solutions as mentioned above.
Have a Conversation
One of the defining traits of the most engaged IC shoppers is their use of social networks; they are talking about their experiences and want brands to take notice. These “social shoppers” use brands as part of their personal identities far more often than other shoppers. So talk to them!
Expand Your Horizons
The opportunity to expand IC behavior is tremendous, particularly to fill-in trips where the motivation was not food or beverages. There is also opportunity within IC trips, particularly with food and still beverages:
- Only one in four IC trips included both a food and a beverage, and more than half were for a beverage only.
- As noted in the infographic below, still beverages (particularly juices and waters) are often purchased with IC food items.
The c-store opportunity: Offer new and exciting product bundles and expand into additional categories that lack merchandising focus today.