It's not difficult for independent retailers to sell soft drinks as the temperatures rise in the summer, but getting the range right to maximise sales is not so easy. There is a wide choice in the cash & carry, and new launches are constantly appearing, so how does a c-store owner with limited shelf space decide what will give the best return?
Dhamecha Cash & Carry and GSK are tackling this issue in a number of ways. Dhamecha's trading director Mukesh Vithlani says it is important suppliers liaise with Dhamecha before the launch of new products so that Dhamecha can assess its relevance to its customer base, and check that aspects like pricing and packaging are right.
For important new launches like GSK's Lucozade Sport with Caffeine Boost, he says Dhamecha and GSK work together to produce impactful promotional displays which encourage retailers to buy the new product. Dhamecha also prefers multi-buy deals for retailers to encourage them to stock up on the new product, otherwise, he says, retailers may run out of a successful new product before their next visit to the cash & carry and forget to re-stock.
Dhamecha also supports its promotional deals with 500 customised leaflets for its retail club members which they can deliver to their local neighbourhoods. GSK supports retailers with visits from its sales force who provide information about new launches and category advice about which lines to stock.
GSK is also aware that some retailers prefer price-marked packs, but others don't, so it provides PM and non-PM packs side by side in the depot, with prominent marking on the outer so retailers can easily find the option they want.
Vishnu Kataria, Brijdass Convenience Store, Feltham
"I do most of my shopping at Dhamecha because the prices are very competitive, especially for soft drinks. I've been coming here for six years and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Soft drinks are very important to my business. My store is on the high street near a bus stop and a station so we get a lot of passing trade, especially when people are on their way to work."
Raj Kara, Capital Food & Wine, Wembley
"I've been coming to Dhamecha since it opened. Soft drinks are very important to my business but all the new launches can be a problem because you don't know whether it will sell and what to drop to make space for the new product. I usually give new products about six weeks to see whether they sell fast enough. If it hasn't sold by then it won't be worth stocking it."
Kirit Patel, Gilbert's Bookshop, St John's Wood
"My shop used to be a bookshop but it is now a CTN. We have a Tesco nearby but everyone comes to us for soft drinks because we chill and they don't. Sales of soft drinks soar when the weather is hot. We have a nine foot chiller cabinet, but sometimes we have to fill it up three or four times a day. I stock about 200 different drink varieties."
Dilip Dassani, Dassani Off Licence, Acton, Edgware and Harrow
"I use a cash & carry because it would be too expensive if it was delivered. The soft drinks reps are helpful because they can advise on what to stock and new launches to look out for at the cash and carry. There are too many new products but if it is a big brand such as Lucozade I will try it because I know my customers will know the brand and will want to try it."