Convenience stores need to focus on mission management and increasing their online presence, according to HIM client director Tara Benjamin.

Speaking at C-Store’s Convenience Performance Seminar last week, Benjamin claimed: “Category management is dead.” She cited HIM research which revealed that 79% of shoppers would find it useful to have commonly purchased products merchandised together. In addition, 58% of shoppers said ‘this store’ could improve on mission management.

She also urged retailers to engage online, especially given that two-thirds of shoppers have smartphones or use Facebook and Twitter. In contrast, only 19% of retailers have a website. “The smartphone is the fastest adopted technology since TV,” she added.

“You should encourage shoppers to rate products online. All feedback is good feedback,” Benjamin added. “The multiples have a more coherent approach.”

She highlighted the importance of community involvement, which she said can drive loyalty and footfall. “Two-thirds of shoppers want to support local retailers but it takes commitment and full immersion,” she said.

Also speaking at the seminar, Doug Walker, Heineken’s head of customer marketing off trade, urged retailers to keep their beer range simple.

“You need to stock the products shoppers want to buy. It’s tempting to react to every NPD, but the range balloons and big brands get pushed to the back.” He said the Heineken Star Retailer programme can increase category growth by at least 12%.

The Convenience Performance Seminar was sponsored by Heineken and Kraft.