The changing face of Convenience retail: growth, trends and opportunities to sell more

2 November 2020
Author: Linzi McGuire

The IGD reports that the Convenience retail industry is valued at around £38bn and is one of the top three fastest growing sectors in UK retail.

Turnover was already on the rise before the world changed in March, accounting for around one fifth of the total grocery market. This growth was fuelled by busier lifestyles and changes in shopper behaviour. Now the growth is continuing to be fuelled by a shop local attitude to protect the community and to protect yourself and your family by avoiding crowded places. Since March, some symbol groups have reported sales increases of up to 300% due to increased footfall. That’s huge!

In recent months, Convenience stores have invited a new type of consumer who is more likely to do bulk shops vs top ups – they demand more than just the essentials or impulse purchases. This means that stores that were typically mostly ambient have had to adapt to include fresh and frozen produce, as well as stock larger ranges of personal care, cleaning products, beer, wine and spirits, and even ranges like gifting, including birthday cards.

New ranges like these combined with new services like delivery options has opened up a huge opportunity to explode growth even further. This could be as much as 18% growth over the next 5 years, taking the industry value to £47.1bn.

So as consumers look to convenience stores for a bigger range and better-quality products, combined with their desire to grab a bargain, what can brands do to support independent and symbol store owners to revolutionise their shelves?

Distribution of never before seen items and ranges in Convenience

So, you know there’s an opportunity for greater distribution of your products lines but you’re unsure where to start? For many brands, this may the first time they dip their toes in the Convenience pool and we get it, it’s a whole different ball game. Luckily, we know just what to do to get your products ranged on shelf and nurture local relationships to build upon this distribution year on year.

Talk to us about how to do this in a flexible and cost-effective way to help your brand sell more.

Partner with someone who can help you flex for seasonal opportunities

Convenience has long been a channel where relationships are key, but there’s often no drive to have a full-time permanent team on the ground, year round. That’s why brands need a partner who can help you work out your optimum team on a seasonal basis to take advantage of buying peaks for the biggest return.

Unsure where to start? Talk to us for a free chat to start to build your field sales strategy through local relationships in an agile way.

Use data to drive your decisions

Use data to make decisions or direct resource to where the biggest opportunities lie. Easier said than done, right? We know that effective use of EPOS data can uplift ROI by 36% but Convenience has long been a channel that has been baron of any meaningful data… until now.

Through an exclusive partnership with In-Touch, we’ve found a way to harness ESPO data from 10,000 terminals across the country, in the most valuable locations, to help drive your brand strategy.

Just talk to us about how this could help your brand sell more.

Is technology the key to the future?

Data from a 2019 survey by HIM indicates retail app popularity is on the rise for consumers, retailers and brands alike. In addition, retailers ordering products online is growing at an extraordinary rate. The data shows that of those retailers whose primary route to market is delivered, 98% say their main method for ordering is online – in 2008 this figure was just 24%! In 2019, within the B2B online ordering space, apps were estimated to account for up to 30% of sales... so how does this play into Convenience?

Technology is a trend that has typically been adopted at a relatively slow pace when it comes to Convenience retail. In recent months, all bets are off; trends have been accelerated, consumer behaviour has adapted, expectations have also evolved, and shopping local has become normal once again.

As consumers turn to their screens to order product and engage with brands, so too do retailers, which makes retailers even more accessible to brands than ever before.

So, what if brands could access a pool of engaged convenience retailers on one platform? Well, the good news is they can!

Gerry McGeehan, MyStore+ Account Controller, comments “Asking retailers to access multiple websites or apps to get simple advice and offers for each category in their store creates unnecessary challenge and complication. Solutions need to start with what retailers want. Retailers have told us they want to be able to access advice and offers for categories and brands in one place, so that’s why we created our app, MyStore+.

We’re already helping brands like Unilever, News UK and Colgate-Palmolive connect with retailers to provide advice, offers and rewards that help both growth their businesses. Digital connectivity is the future to helping every brand connect directly with Convenience retailers, and through our partnership with News UK on MyStore+, we have direct access to up to 35,000 of them.”

In addition to advice and offers, the upside is that brands can also encourage retailers to compete audits via the app to gain insight on their range, compliance and what sells in their store.

So, if you’re a brand looking to build your distribution in Convenience, flexibly engage with decision makers, build quality relationships, take advantage of seasonal peaks for best ROI, and use technology for digital engagement 24/7, stay tuned all this week where we’ll deep dive into each of these topics on our LinkedIn page.

Can’t wait until then? Get in touch right now.

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