Tutorial: Raising the bar in biscuits

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Biscuits are a staple product for practically every household and every convenience store in the country. Yet weekly sales can still be improved by bringing the fixture up to date and focusing on the key shopper missions and sub-categories. As part of C-Store’s annual Shop Project, Mondelez International visited five stores with a plan to build sales and create new opportunities

In Britain we love our biscuits, with almost every household buying into the category. Overall, the biscuit category is growing, but convenience is arguably not getting its fair share of the sales. So, as part of C-Store’s Class of 2018 Shop Project, Mondelez International took a new merchandising plan to our subject stores with the twin aims of making it easier for shoppers to locate the products they are looking for, and to inspire them to make a purchase.

There are two key missions for biscuits in convenience - top-up (roughly 80% of sales) and on the go - each reflecting different needs, and so it is important to offer distinct ranges. The category broadly splits into three segments - sweet, healthy and savoury - with the latter two currently under-represented in convenience. Sweet should account for about 60% of the space, and within the segment everyday biscuits are losing share to treat and special lines, as consumers trade up.

When finalising the fixture plan, there are also relatively new and emerging segments to account for, such as breakfast biscuits, and there may be further opportunities for complementary sales within the category by combining with other products, such as hot coffee to go.

After a review of sales at our project stores, Mondelez adapted the company’s standard plans to incorporate local knowledge and, where space was an issue, removed the poorest sellers. Biscuits were grouped into clear sub-categories, with sweet treats and special biscuits together and defined sections for everyday biscuits, biscuit bars, savoury and healthy lines.

Best-sellers were put in the best-selling locations - ie where the eye is likely to look first of all - with space given in proportion to the size of the sales opportunity. Brands were blocked together and manufacturer POS and shelf strips employed to make the fixture easier to shop.

As customers on a to-go mission tend to be more impulsive and are often in a hurry, Mondelez used a flexible unit that could be positioned in relevant high-traffic positions such as by the till, near the front of store, by the impulse chiller or by the coffee machine. Within the unit, a range of single-serve packs was introduced with merchandising clearly segmented by product type, eg breakfast, nut/seed bars and sweet treats.

In order to make the most of the complementary sales opportunities, in project stores with a coffee machine a coffee and Belvita offer was set up, supported by posters and a Belvita dispenser unit. Both of these can be ordered or downloaded via the website, www.deliciousdisplay.co.uk.

Sales data was captured and monitored for an eight-week period by The Retail Data Partnership, and the results were very encouraging. More detail follows over the page, but in summary the four stores where Mondelez category guidelines were implemented saw sales increases of 16% by volume and 10% by value during the project period. All stores saw an improvement in value sales, with two seeing a jump of more than 30%.

The category plan

1) Healthy is the fastest growing segment hence why it has been merchandised at the top of the fixture*

2) Shoppers use pack format and colour to help them navigate the fixture quickly**

3) The everyday treat/special treat sub-categories are merchandised together under the sweet category as per biscuits flow ie Oreo adjacent to Cadbury Fingers

4) Merchandise the best sellers on the best-selling shelves (eye level) for ease of shop

5) Fixtures up to 3m are blocked horizontally to help shoppers scan across the fixture at eye level ***

6) Where possible, look to brand block sweet biscuits, to maximise their impact on shelf

Sources: * Nielsen, Indies and Symbols, 30 December 2017. ** TNS Magasin for CTB 2001. *** Project Shapes 2014 - Eye Tracking Study

The results

Following Mondelez category guidelines in four project stores value sales increased over eight weeks by an average of 10% yoy

Volume sales increased by an average of 16% yoy

All stores saw improved value sales:

  • Londis, North Camp +38% yoy
  • Sam’s, Kidderminster +30% yoy
  • Premier, Oxton +1% yoy
  • Budget Supermarket, Old Windsor, pre-trial had an underlying decline of -12% yoy. After the trial, this decline had reduced to -6%.

Stores benefited from adjusting their ranges in line with the latest trends. Increased sales for healthy, special and treat biscuits helped bridge the gap created by the decline of everyday biscuits.

Cadbury Roundie single (50p PMP) was the best volume seller in three of the four stores where it was introduced, proving that dual siting the product on the counter and within an on-the-go snack offer drives impulse sales.

Belvita single-serve biscuits worked well in the on-the-go range, and also helped establish top-up sales of healthy biscuits. All stores grew sales in both ‘on the go’ and ‘top-up’ mission breakfast biscuits.

In a fifth store, Belvita breakfast biscuits were offered with a coffee for a special price. Belvita volume sales increased by 63%.

Store owner Sree Edukulla from Londis North Camp was delighted by the outcome. “It worked well. The shelves look really attractive and sales have gone up nicely.”

Mondelez International trade communications manager Susan Nash adds: “The key to a successful biscuit fixture is to align your range to current trends, inspire purchase in-store and, above all, make it easy to shop.

“Have a representation of treat, special, healthy and ‘on the go’ biscuits as well as everyday lines.”

All epos data captured and verified by The Retail Data Partnership

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