Autumn has arrived. The darker nights are drawing in, the clocks are going to change and the battle between The X Factor and Strictly has started.

This presents a fantastic opportunity for convenience stores. The darker evenings can mean more time spent preparing warm and comforting meals, and we all know the main reason shoppers use a convenience store is to top-up shop, so this is a great time to ensure you are exploiting these long evenings.

Tea time should also remain a huge focus for you, with children back at school. With after-school clubs and sports, families have to cater for multiple meal sittings in one night, and maybe a variety of meal solutions, as the family come home at staggered times. Again, meal for tonight, meal solutions and snacks are another huge driver to convenience stores. Are you ready?

The Big Night In continues to grow in UK households. We know that 44% of shoppers plan to have more quiet nights in, so from Thursday to Sunday you need to be prepared for these needs.

The trick is to keep it simple, whether your customers are planning an X Factor party, or a quiet night in watching Downtown Abbey. We all like to treat ourselves, so that means crisps, snacks, confectionery and, of course, beers, wine and spirits. We asked shoppers what sharing packs they are most likely to buy when staying in, and 45% said crisps and chocolate confectionery.

We know shoppers love ‘event’ displays, so bringing these categories together, providing tempting impulse solutions, should be a focus - especially given that half of shoppers say they want to see associated products grouped together in a store.

The arrival of autumn and winter means we see great seasonal events in the calendar, including Halloween (apples for bobbing, sweets for trick or treating, and maybe pumpkins, too) and Bonfire Night parties. Think about the potential promotional opportunities that this can open up - as many as 26% of shoppers said they would use their local c-stores to buy items for a specific event or occasion, so why not create an event or occasion around a Big Night In?”