Category Management Project Has Tills Ringing…

A three-month category management project with Convenience Store magazine has shown the contribution that Hot, Quick & Tasty products can make to boosting profits in convenience outlets – and produced spectacular sales uplifts.

The ‘Shop Project’ involved Kepak working closely with three retailers, each of whom recognised the growth in consumer demand for single serve chilled snacks and meals – and how shoppers expect them to be merchandised together.

The project also took account of the fact that many shoppers want the option to heat and eat products out of the home – and in many cases to microwave them in the shop where they bought them.

The project began with fact-finding visits to three partner stores – Londis Burgess Hill, Saxon Field Stores at Andover and Central Stores/Garage at Martley.

Dedicated planograms were produced and eye-catching point of sale (shelf edge strips, barkers and branded shelf trays) installed, along with exterior ‘A Boards’ outside the Martley and Burgess Hill stores.

Kepak branded microwaves were sited at two shops which had a strong food to go customer base.

The project resulted in major sales uplifts in each store. Here’s what happed in each store, with comments from participating retailers:

Londis, Burgess Hill

Londis, Burgess Hill

Londis, Burgess Hill

What we did:
The focus here was on introducing products that complemented the broad sandwich offer, re-siting ambient products that didn’t need to be merchandised in the chilled fixture; block merchandising by how people shop the fixture and siting a Kepak-branded microwave to enable people to cook HQT products in-store. During the project the product recommendations were revised to take account of which products were readily available.

The Results:
Sales of HQT products increased by a massive 130 per cent, with micro-snacking the top-performing sector, recording a sales uplift of 268%. The combination of block merchandising, changes to the fixture during the project and the addition of a microwave has transformed the shop’s chilled snacks and meals offering.

The sales figures clearly show that our customers like the products and being able to use the microwave. Myself and the staff worked hard at making this work. Rustlers have been selling particularly well,”

said retailer Kazem Hossini.

Saxon Field Stores, Andover

Saxon Field Stores, Andover

Saxon Field Stores, Andover

What we did:
With the shop already selling lots of sandwiches and hot drinks, we made use of the opportunity to introduce a broad HQT ‘hot food’ offering, with particular emphasis on best-selling Rustlers micro-snacking products.

We also installed Kepak heat and eat stand, close to the till, to enable customers (including a lot of tradespeople) to cook products on the premises and sited an A board outside to complement the shelf barkers and shelf strips inside.

The Results:
The store used the Kepak heat and eat stand to great effect, so much so that sales of micro-snacking products (the top-performing sector) rose by 141%. HQT sales overall were up by 54% – another really strong performance.

Retailer Mayur Patel described the sales increases as ‘excellent’ and said: “The microwave helps a lot, so we encourage shoppers to use it, showing them how easy it is to walk out with a hot meal. Workmen and weekend football teams were good customers.”

Central Garage Martley Ltd

Central Garage Martley Ltd

Central Garage Martley Ltd

What we did:
We remerchandised the chilled snacking fixture, taking account of the need to retain local produce including freshly-made pies and sandwiches, but broadened appeal with the introduction of a comprehensive range of HQT products, including a range of Rustlers SKUs which hadn’t been stocked previously.

We also sited POS, including barkers and shelf strips, and an A board outside to draw shopper attention to the new hot food offering.

The Results:
After overcoming initial challenges in relation to wastage, and recognising the need to retain a strong offer of locally-produced chilled products, sales of HQT products rose sharply, resulting in an overall increase of 71%.

Central Stores owner Nick Bradley remarked:

We focused on best-selling lines and Rustlers did especially well. I liked the professional way Kepak improved the displays.”

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