While it’s not the largest customer mission in the convenience store sector, generating 8% of footfall, it is one that is easy to accomplish. Katie Littler believes the treats mission is one that retailers should be capitalising on.

Top 5

Mission Products

1. Confectionery

2. Soft drinks

3. Crisps and Snacks

4. Bakery (wrapped)

5. Beer

“This mission is more about mind-set than a functional need,” she says. “These shoppers are in-store to satisfy a desire or an urge. Hence the most important categories here are indulgent - confectionery, snack and beer also plays a big part.”

She advocates strong communication and encouraging customers to treat themselves. “Communication in-store to attract these shoppers should be about ‘treat yourself’ and affordable treats - this is the ‘feel good’ mission in convenience and allows the retailers and suppliers to step outside of the ‘functional’ box and communicate in a more ‘emotional’ way.”

To take advantage of the ‘feel good’ mission, retailers need to make sure they have the right customer base. “They are a slightly younger shopper base, they are fairly promotionally driven shoppers and many have kids in the household,” adds Littler. “In fact 20% are buying something for their kids to eat.”

Mondelez’s Susan Nash says linking products is the key to success in the treating mission.

“This occasion generally contains two or more items from the following categories: wine, beer, spirits, sharing confectionery, share bags crisps/snacks, whole cakes and dip,” she says. “If a shopper is planning a night in, with friends or family or just on their own, they may pop to their local small shop to pick up a number of these items. By creating a display which covers all possible products for this occasion, including chilled availability, the retailer can make the shopper’s visit to the store much more efficient as well as possibly up-weighting basket spend.”

She adds that share-size products will do well in treating. “Retailers should make shopping for the treating occasion a convenient experience for the shopper,” says Nash. “By positioning sharing products from different categories in a dedicated treating bay, retailers can encourage consumers to buy all the products they need for a night in from their shop.”

Nicola Lacey, central sales director Mars Chocolate UK, says that treating can be a winner for retailers if they focus on secondary sites to tempt impulsive customers.

“By using dump bins, bitesize wall dividers and till point display units, retailers can make the most of the impulsive nature of products purchased in this mission,” she says.

“By introducing secondary sitings in high footfall areas of the store, retailers can appeal to the impulsive nature of confectionery and maximise the sales potential of the whole store. What’s more, dual siting sharing bags can increase sales by up to 50%.

“Retailers should remember that 100% of shoppers pass by the till point, therefore, a secondary siting at the till is vital for all retailers if they want to maximise impulse sales. Mars’ Bambino Units, which sit at the till, have proven to deliver a sales uplift of up to 12% alone and are ideal for smaller stores with limited space.”

Retailer’s view

“The treating mission changes from season to season so retailers should be careful about their offering. In the summer, customers are going to be out and about more, so it’s probably best to scale back treat sections until September. Once autumn and winter hit, programmes like X Factor start up again and people will be staying in more.

“For the launch of the new X Factor series we’ve introduced a linked deal which includes Parrot Bay frozen cocktails, frozen pizzas and Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

“I also think retailers are limiting themselves by thinking a ‘Big Night In’ can only take place on a Friday or Saturday night. I was recently on a study tour in Ireland and saw a SuperValu store with a ‘Great Night In’ offering. I’m looking to introduce that to my store as it gives the impression it applies to any night of the week. We’ll increase the offering to include more snacks and confectionery.”

Paul Cheema, Malcolm’s Store, Coventry