How drinks retailers can make the most of seasonal events - analysis
Seasonal events have always been very important, offering retailers an opportunity to promote their point of difference. Consumers are more willing to shop around during these times to treat their loved ones, so offering the right in-store environment or online activation is key to driving extra sales.
Easter is the second biggest event after Christmas, with 37% of households typically buying more, though the size of the uplift can be influenced by the weather. If early summer sun aligns with a late Easter, shoppers will be more willing to celebrate, plan events with friends and family or embark on an early round of alfresco dining.
All of this could help impact more categories, leading to bigger sales spikes for retailers. During the Jubilee weekend in 2022, an additional £104 million was spent on BWS, making it one of the biggest weeks outside of Christmas. With an extra bank holiday scheduled for the Coronation in May, another boost in sales can be expected.
There are also those events which are not as easy to plan for. The three heatwaves we experienced in June, July and August last year saw consumers flock to convenience stores for additional drinks, al fresco dining solutions and other, non-food related, products. During the July heatwave, RTDs and cider recorded the two largest value and volume sales weeks of the past 12 months, excluding Christmas, suggesting shoppers were looking for refreshment as the temperature soared.
This highlights the need for the industry to be agile and react quickly when opportunities present themselves. Calendar events such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Halloween are also important. These can often trigger impulse sales if a display is eye-catching and tugs at the shopper’s emotions.
Event uplifts are usually consumer-led by shoppers looking to entertain, treat or party, but retailers are often also looking to generate a buzz. If retailers offer more products across a wider range of categories, they will broaden a promotion’s appeal.
Take Valentine’s Day as an example. Waitrose’s dine-in meal promotion offered three cocktail choices alongside a more traditional bottle of wine or fizz. More consumers will be shopping to a fixed budget currently.
Offering a wide range of differing pack sizes and price points will allow shoppers to be flexible. If shoppers are tempted they need to feel they’re getting value for money. This is where promotions or loyalty incentives can prove to be a win, both for shoppers and retailers.
One thing to consider is widening the appeal for different types of relationships and demographics. For example, extending the theme to make the event broader and more appealing, such as Pal-entine’s Day for platonic relationships or Gal-entine’s Day for female get-togethers.
Another creative way to entice shoppers is through personalisation, making products unique and special. A good example of this is Toblerone and its online shop with a personalised digital poem. It’s all about making it easy for the consumer to be tempted to make an additional purchase, by maximising the power of aisle and off-shelf promotions in-store.
For online, there is an opportunity to grab people by offering next-day delivery on selected products to appeal to last-minute shoppers. Rapid food delivery and quick commerce retailers can make mileage through events with last-minute sales. The football World Cup was a prime example of this, as the likes of Gorillas and Deliveroo were swift to promote match-day deals.
Ultimately, the bigger the event, the bigger the appeal and the bigger the uplift in sales and profits.