So, to help you communicate even better to your shoppers that you are the first store they should go to for these essential products, Convenience Store has joined forces with leading suppliers Warburtons and Robert Wiseman Dairies to produce a Bread & Milk Guarantee pack - containing everything you need to run a bread and milk guarantee in-store.
How does it work?
Packs contain shelf wobblers, posters, window stickers, staff badges and vouchers.
The pos material prompts shoppers to remember the milk and bread, and can be placed on the relevant product fixtures and in complementary areas such as hot beverages and cereals.
The vouchers are provided so that you can give a guarantee to your customers that you will always be in stock - and the posters and staff badges enable you to shout about it.
The idea is that you make a promise to your customers: "If we are out of stock of bread or milk today, we'll give you a voucher to bring back tomorrow and you'll get it free." It's a proven way of getting customers to make you the first port of call to top up on essentials.
The packs have already been successfully implemented in Scotland via our sister publication Scottish Local Retailer, and now they are available across the UK. If you haven't already received a pack with this issue, you can request one today from Warburtons, Robert Wiseman Dairies or Convenience Store.
Ask the experts
Tom Fender, sales and marketing director at HIM, maintains that now it's more important than ever to run guarantee schemes.
"As the recession takes hold, more and more shoppers are choosing to shop locally," he says. "However, this raises expectations in the minds of consumers and they won't tolerate out of stocks - particularly in staple products such as milk and bread.
"So a bread and milk availability guarantee provides a commitment to shoppers, a heads-up to the store staff and the chance to boost sales in all categories, as the more shoppers come in for milk and bread, the greater the sales opportunities for other products.
"Retailers need to make sure they are communicating their bread and milk availability within their local communities via leaflets where possible."
Robert Wiseman Dairies sales and marketing director Sandy Wilkie says: "The importance of milk and bread cannot be overstated, and the successful retailing of these products is fundamental to retailing successfully in the convenience sector.
"Our experience of running an identical guarantee project with Scottish Local Retailer has taught us that this system helps to break the consumer perception that availability isn't always guaranteed in c-stores.
"It inspires confidence that consumers can rely on their local c-stores to have bread and milk whenever they need it, securing their custom long term and the additional sales that go along with milk and bread.
"It also encourages retailers to review the range and merchandising of the milk fixture with the help of their local Wiseman sales manager. Experience has shown us that bringing this level of category management to the milk fixture helps deliver an increased return from milk."
director Sarah Miskell adds: "Convenience retailers are integral to Warburtons business and we are committed to working with our retailers in this channel. Warburtons aims to provide the very best support and category advice and we are really excited to take this project national.
"Bread and milk shoppers are highly valuable to the retailer's business, and research shows many shoppers buy almost half of their bread and milk from convenience stores, so these are particularly important categories for convenience retailers to focus on and get right - this is where the Bread & Milk Guarantee pack can really help."
Gillett's gets on board
The Spar store in Heathfield, Devon - part of the Gillett's chain - is already trialling the Bread & Milk Guarantee packs.
Store manager Chris Jones says: "We pride ourselves on our availability of key lines such as bread and milk, and on always being there for our customers when they need us for those essential products. The pos material is very eye-catching and we look forward to seeing its effect on sales."
Display the crown jewels
Put the 'bread' pieces on the milk chiller and 'milk' bottles in front of the bread fixture. In this way, the kits will add interest to the fixture, as well as prompt additional purchases.
"Bread and milk are the among the jewels in retailers' crowns," says HIM sales and marketing director Tom Fender. "It's important that retailers give them the same levels of theatre, attention and management as they do other categories."
The material can be used all over the store to stimulate extra sales. Placing milk and bread reminders near to complementary categories such as hot beverages, biscuits, preserves, cereals and other morning goods can add pounds to every shopping basket.
Use the posters, badges and other materials in the pack to communicate to your customers that you will always be in stock.
Previous success stories
Similar packs have been successfully distributed in Scotland by C-Store's sister publication Scottish Local Retailer. Billy Kay, a Spar retailer in Greenock, West Scotland, still uses the pos material. "Our sales went up when we put the pos out," he says. "If you put the pieces in front of other categories such as cereals it's enough to put the thought into customers' heads that they might not have enough bread or milk at home, so they buy some more."
Call your suppliers
Your local Warburtons and Robert Wiseman Dairies representatives have hundreds of packs to give away to independent retailers, so give them a call to arrange a visit. The contact details are printed on the facing page.
Pictured here is Warburtons business development manager Darren Hodgson-Baylis helping to put the shelf wobblers in place on the bread fixture at Spar Heathfield.
Retailers in selected areas of the country have been sent a bread and milk guarantee pack with this issue, but they are available to all readers of Convenience Store.
To request a pack, email your name, store name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively contact your Warburtons or Robert Wiseman Dairies representative. If you would like to arrange a visit by a Robert Wiseman Dairies or Warburtons business manager to deliver your pack, call 01355 598573 (Robert Wiseman Dairies) or 0800 243 684 (Warburtons), email email@example.com or go to www.warburtons-trade.co.uk.