HIM's Georgina Wild has some tips to drive impulse purchases in the alcohol category

One winner of the squeeze on consumers' purses has been take-home sales of beer, wine and spirits.

HIM research shows that 54% of c-shoppers drink alcohol at home once a week or more, and a further 20% say once a month. More than half (56%) entertain family or friends at home once a month or more often.

Beer, wine and spirits is the 12th highest penetrated category at convenience stores, however there is currently no impulse within the category. But any promotional activity in store must be both shopper and staff friendly for it to work. HIM studies show c-store shoppers mainly walk to a c-store so alcohol packs should not be too large or heavy.

Store staff also say beer. wines and spirits is difficult to manage as boxes can be very heavy. Even so, 57% of convenience store managers say beer will drive the greatest sales growth in their business over the next 12 months (CTP 2009 staff & managers).

Chilled availability remains the key point of difference with the supermarkets, and availability in general is the number one priority to customers. So keep fixtures fully stocked, especially at key times of the week Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Tips for retailers:

Put share bags of crisps and snacks near the alcohol fixture

Create secondary displays to increase impulse purchases.

Increase share of space and improve visibility

Provide clear signage of wine by country and colour and stock the key brands

Ensure you have sufficient chilled stock, especially at the peak times

Don't forget ice as it offers high margins

Put lemons and limes near the spirits range.

Offer suggestions for wine and food matching

Offer party packs create a party atmosphere in-store with balloons and party materials for a Friday night 'beat the blues' party

Offer gift bags and wrap.