Georgina Wild from HIM Research & Consulting has some new year tips for retailers

The start of a new year gives businesses a great opportunity to take stock, and HIM Research & Consulting's feedback from its interviews with 20,000 convenience store shoppers provides a good starting point.

l Health 22% of c-store customers told HIM that they would use a particular store more if it offered more healthy options, while 20% would like to see added low-fat options and 12% would like more low-salt products.

l Breakfast this remains a huge untapped opportunity as 21% of c-store customers are there to buy items to eat immediately. Of those customers on a food-for-now mission, 50% were buying items to eat/drink for a snack between meals, whereas only 8% were buying something for breakfast. Offering bakery products, fruit salad pots, yogurts and so on could be a way to capture this market.

l Going green 34% of shoppers said they would be encouraged to reuse their carrier bags if a store charged for its single-use bags.

l Basics newspapers, bread and milk are essential basket items, yet we are still seeing slippage in these categories. The most important thing to a c-store shopper is availability so it is crucial that these items are available at all times.

l Fresh being credible in fresh will improve your customers' overall perception of your store. It will also help to attract women on a top-up mission and lead to sales in categories such as household and health and beauty.

l Meal for tonight only 4% of c-store shoppers are on a meal for tonight mission and one in three of these do not know what they're going to buy, so try making some suggestions.

l Events make the most of all sporting and big calendar events by planning ahead.

l Speed of service this has become even more important to shoppers, significantly jumping up 9% from 2008. Yet as almost one in five sales staff would like to receive more training, most notably in improving sales and security, it's important to ensure they have the skills for the job.

l Value messages 34% of shoppers are encouraged to buy at rounded price points compared with 8% who aren't. Customers say they help keep track of their spending and get rid of loose change. Pricemarks also appeal as they give a reassurance shoppers aren't being overcharged.