Since the economic downturn, the emergence of multi-channel shopping has become ever more prevalent particularly as shoppers continue with savvy spending habits in search of the best value. The UK convenience channel has profited greatly from this trend, with shoppers increasing their preference to shop ‘little and often’ at smaller, local grocery stores.

chazThe convenience market is dominated by those buying on a relatively frequent basis. According to the IGD, convenience store shoppers on average, use the channel more than eleven times a month. For the delivered wholesale and cash & carry industry to capitalise on the growth within this channel, it is essential they consider at least one, if not all, of the following:

•  Missions – there are an extensive range of convenience store shopper missions to appeal to;

•  food-to-go

•  lottery

•  fresh top-up

•  newspapers and magazines

Topping-up on staple products such as bread, milk and eggs remains the primary shopping mission, of which Dairy donates a substantial proportion. Developing a range of solutions to meet diverse shopper missions and will become even more imperative in the future to help retailer differentiation.

PMP – whilst we know that around half of the shopping public are prepared to pay a bit extra for the convenience of their local independent, it is key that the perception of value for money is     rigorously maintained. As well as high levels of service, independent     retailers are beginning to consider how their pricing is viewed. With this in mind, Dairy Crest has been rolling price marked packs on the SKUs most relevant for the convenience retailer. The range now includes Cathedral City 200g Mature, Light and Extra Mature, Clover and Utterly Butterly 500g and recently launched Cathedral City Mature Sliced and Grated. Price marked packs reassure the shopper they are getting a fair price and we know from 2012 HIM research that 48% of shoppers decisions are affected by PMPs.

Promotional expectations – promotions are increasingly important in the shopper decision making process, however they are even more demanding about the quality of these offers. Retailers should consider matching promotional offers with shopper missions to get the best results. For example, somebody on a fresh top-up mission searching for a tub of margarine would consider a multi-buy mechanic if appropriate.

Above all else, the desire for fresh produce in the convenience channel is mounting. As such, wholesalers and cash & carry’s should keep well-stocked chillers that focuses on the breadth and depth of range, catering for the numerous shopper missions and covering as many usage occasions as possible.

James Murray, Shopper Marketing Manager of leading UK dairy supplier Dairy Crest gives the company’s viewpoint.

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