Is your female toiletries range good enough to win over those top-up and distress purchasers? Tracy West offers advice on ironing out the wrinkles

If you thought buying toiletries was a simple task then think again. According to a survey conducted by online research company OnePoll, women spend an amazing 17 hours and 33 minutes each year shopping for toiletries. Most will be bought in high street specialists like Boots or Superdrug, or within the weekly supermarket shop, but there will always be occasions when consumers run out and a c-store has to suffice. That’s not to say that a c-store is not capable of stocking toiletry lines, it’s just that the range will be limited and so therefore will choice so it’s important to get yours right. 

top tips

Susan Woodhead, category insight controller at Lil-lets, reckons retailers could be missing out on up to a third of additional sales from their femcare fixture by stocking only the leading applicator tampon brand. According to Lil-lets research, branded tampon users buy either Tampax (applicator) or Lil-lets (non-applicator), not both. And with the average Lil-lets user spending an additional £1 on associated products, retailers could see the benefits outside of the femcare aisle. Woodhead says: “Loyalty to the Lil-lets brand is very high, but retailers are unaware of this and may be missing out by not stocking Lil-lets and the standard applicator brand.”

Kimberley Green, Partners for Growth manager at Unilever, says simplicity and visibility are key to successful toiletries sales. “Unfortunately, 18% of shoppers do not know that toiletries are sold in their local convenience store. So because awareness can be low and purchase is on impulse, retailers need to let their customers know that they stock toiletries.”

She advises retailers to use pos material to advertise their range. “If retailers feel it’s necessary to keep high-value products behind the counter, then it is critical that empty packs or a simple visual prompt of these products are positioned at the fixture.”

It’s definitely worth taking her advice because, according to the Convenience Tracking Programme, toiletries shoppers spend more than other shoppers (£8.87 per trip compared with £5.24). This is because they also tend to use their visit to top up on other grocery items. “This makes them very valuable shoppers,” says Green.

She continues: “Research suggests that when purchasing toiletries, shoppers are very loyal to particular brands. “Shoppers choose their toiletries because they know they work, and are less likely to opt for cheaper alternatives for fear that they won’t perform as well as their usual brand.”

Green says Partners For Growth works closely with retailers to ensure they have the optimum range for their store. “This can include developing clear merchandising principles to make the fixture easier for the consumer to navigate, smarter promotions, ranging and point of sale material.”

Winter wonders

Perhaps it’s all that straightening and styling done for Christmas and New Year’s parties, but whatever the reason, this winter has heralded plenty of developments in the haircare market.

P&G’s Aussie haircare range now includes ‘Take The Heat’ products designed to reduce damage from styling tools. Products include shampoo, conditioner, 3 Minute Miracle deep treatment, cream and heat spray. Prices start at £3.49 for the shampoo and conditioner.

P&G continues looking after the nation’s hair with a new range from Pantene. The Pro-V Colour Protect range is said to offer the dual advantage of protection for coloured hair in addition to either smoothness or volume. The range includes a shampoo and conditioner for both the smooth and volume consumer, plus three treatments.

Meanwhile, Unilever UK is relaunching Timotei with a new formulation that combines ‘Natural Beauty Recipes from around the world’ and patented haircare technology with healthy hair ingredients. The packaging has been revamped and rebranded, too, with the green bottle replaced with a more contemporary white one. Timotei is available in eight variants.

Unilever UK is also rescuing consumers from everyday hair damage with the launch of Dove Damage Therapy. The Dove Damage Therapy System includes 18 SKUs encompassing shampoos, conditioners and express treatment conditioning solutions.

All this technology and all those SKUs maybe giving you a headache, but obviously there’s a market for these products. The best advice for the c-store retailer? As with most categories, it’s stock the best-sellers backed by the big bucks!
Top tips
Make customers aware you stock toiletries-18% of shoppers don’t realise they can buy toiletries at their local store, so place them where they can be seen 

Availability is crucial- if shoppers can’t find what they want, they will often defer the purchase more so in toiletries than in other categories 

Use pos material to signpost your fixture- shoppers are often in a hurry, so make sure your toiletries fixture is well signposted 

Stock the best sellers- 75% of shoppers intend to buy a leading toiletries brand (HIM/CTP) so stock the best-selling line in the best-selling categories 

Clearly divide the fixture into product groups- this can be a complicated fixture to shop, so it is important that it is merchandised logically 

Block vertically by brand- keep shelves full and double face the best-selling lines.

Ones to watch…
Intensive care 
New Dove Damage Therapy is being supported by a £3.2m marketing spend which includes TV ads and a huge investment in a nationwide shopping centre sampling campaign. 
rrp: from £2.49 
tel: 020 7822 5252

Wipe out 
Halo’s range of wipes includes pocket-sized packs of 30 eye make-up remover pads as well as deodorant wipes. 
rrp: eye make-up remover pads £1.99; deodorant wipes 99p 
tel: 01329 228240 

Sensitive side 
Super-Max’s new sensitive shave gel for women contains vitamin E and shea butter to moisturise the skin during shaving. It comes in a striking blue/green can. 
rrp: £1 
tel: 020 8844 1433

Simply the best 
Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes are the UK’s best-selling face wipes, with one pack sold every five seconds (Symphony IRI Group, 52 weeks ending Oct 30, 2010). 
rrp: £2.93 
tel: 0121 712 6523 

Heads up 
The Head & Shoulders range now includes a Scalp Care collection to soothe and calm all types of problematic scalps. There are three shampoos and conditioners available. 
rrp: £2.39 
tel: 0800 597 3388