Events are a fantastic way for retailers to drive incremental footfall and create a sense of theatre within their store, says HIM’s Molly Wilmot.

”The high street is constantly evolving and the boundaries that existed between supermarkets, discounters, food-to-go outlets and convenience stores are continuously being broken down. With the rise of click & collect, the influx of discounters to the high street, and shoppers themselves becoming more aware of value, it’s important for convenience retailers to understand that they cannot rely on simply being ‘convenient’ any longer. Offering something beyond the mandatory is crucial to success.

“Maximising events, and we’re not just talking the traditional seasonal events here, is the perfect way to make your store stand out. Our research shows that 71% of shoppers think that c-stores should get behind regular (non-traditional) events more, and that if they did it would encourage them to visit the store more and spend more when they are there.

“Of course, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter and so on are going to be key occasions in the calendar and it’s important to get them right, but this is a battleground where the supermarkets are traditionally strong and the discounters are learning fast. The recent example of Aldi’s move to stock Scottish produce across all its UK stores for Burns Night is a clear example.

“Weekly events such as ‘Thank goodness it’s Friday’, ‘Happy pay day’, ‘Treat the office’ and events local to your area are a great way to compete with some of the bigger retailers. Just a few simple messages in store and a creative display can capture the imagination of shoppers and turn a normal day into something special.

”Consider, too, the countless events that go on throughout the year: National Cupcake Week, National Bread Week, National Vegetarian Week…the list goes on! TV shows such as The X-Factor and The Great British Bake Off also offer opportunities to promote related products which are at the forefront of shoppers’ consciousness.

”There’s so much to go for! Look to turn the five or six events throughout the year into events that happen every week or month, and keep shoppers coming back for more.”