Ricky Coombes of HIM has some advice to help you make the most of big - and small - nights in

This time last year, HIM spoke to convenience shoppers in order to understand their potential behaviour in the coming year. What we found was that spending less time (and therefore less money) going out and more time entertaining at home, or more time with the family, was a definite theme for 2011.

The results were:

● Half of the shopper population said they would go out to dinner less

● A similar proportion said they would make fewer trips to the cinema

● A third would go out to meet friends less

● More than a quarter said they would entertain more at home

● Almost 30% wanted to spend more time with their family.

With the current economic climate as it is, you can’t help but feel that this will be a growing trend and one for convenience retailers to continue addressing in the year ahead.

However, it may not all be about the Big Night In. We need to consider the quieter, more relaxed night in, too.

Couples or families putting their feet up watching a bit of Saturday night TV, or watching a film together, should also be considered, and solutions for this type of ‘event’ should be catered for by retailers.

Nights like these are, of course, far more frequent than the Big Night In and shoppers may still want to treat themselves while relaxing. Products such as chilled beers and wine, or sharing confectionery are key, so do what you can to provide an in-store solution by merchandising these categories as close together as possible.

But let’s not forget the Big Night In, either. It’s crucial for convenience retailers to understand and cater for shoppers who will be entertaining their friends and family more at home, or purchasing products to take to friends’ or relatives’ houses when they are the guest. Again, chilled beers and wines as well as share size/gifting confectionery are essential for these shoppers.

Considerations for catering to the Big and Quiet Night In shopper are:

● Communication. Ensure your range is clear to both the Big Night In and Quiet Night In shopper

● How much of your wine and beer range is chilled?

● Merchandise products commonly purchased for a night in close to each other for shoppers’ convenience.