Cashing in on a bumper year of bank holidays and events: top tips for Convenience

Following two years of continuous lockdowns that have irrevocably changed the face of convenience retail, CPM has delved into UK convenience stats to compile essential tips for brands to future-proof the operations and cash in on the opportunities presented by the convenience retail market in 2022.

The research, compiled over the last two years, across national lockdowns when more people frequented closer-to-home convenience stores instead of larger shopping centres, also informed CPM’s latest report, Unlocking the Commerce of Convenience.

The ‘close to home’ shopping tendency is predicted to prevail as the current Omicron variant deters consumers from venturing into city centres and larger retail parks, despite no longer being locked down. Together with the additional bank holidays allocated for this year, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to benefit from changing habits and additional footfall in convenience outlets up and down the UK.

The leading omnichannel marketing and customer experience consultancy’s five tips encapsulate the big opportunities in Convenience in 2022 and address how to gain market share -– or risk falling behind in 2022. They include:

  1. Make the most of major national events – World Cup 2022 and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will present one-off opportunities to brands to capitalise on the festival feeling in city centres, suburbs and staycation locations. The latter event, predicted to be of epic proportions, has added an extra bank holiday to calendars that will see celebrations stretch across a bumper four-day weekend in June. Retailers can expect to be incredibly busy during this time and brands need to ensure that they have secured the most productive stores for their tactical campaigns.
  2. Take advantage of increases in store footprints – Indications are that the number of convenience stores will continue to rise, especially among the national symbol stores to take advantage of these events. More space will enable brands to sell more products to more people. The key is to plan and move quickly.
  3. Rely on a data-driven approach – Having access to the correct data will help inform brands on which retailers to invest in around major events, bank holidays and staycation hotspots. For brands to fully unlock their potential in the convenience market, insight and data are pivotal. Combining this with both digital and physical sales solutions ensures brands are able to supply the right goods, advertising assets, and POS materials at the right time to capitalise on opportunities.
  4. Futureproofing – One of the biggest trends this year is driving sustainability. Nearly 90% of shoppers, especially those aged 18-24, are concerned about the environmental impact of the products they buy. The associated sustainability credentials of brands and their products will be more important than ever and brands will need to showcase their environmentally-conscious commitment to customers to retain a competitive edge.
  5. Changing shopper journey – With stores adopting self-checkouts and autonomous shopping formats, the shopper’s store journey has already changed. Brands need to understand each store’s potential format changes and adjust their sales strategy accordingly to attract the mission-specific shopper in those convenience outlets that pose the biggest opportunity. Since customers want faster shopping trips, brands should engage with them both physically and digitally through optimal product placements, disrupting them through FOS placements, innovative loyalty programmes, digital coupons, and digital POS materials.

Across the world, lockdown periods have lasted long enough to significantly change habits that had been the foundation of supply and demand. Along with adjusting business models to reflect behavioural changes, brands also need to be ready with a game plan to maximise growth in convenience channel sales whenever any future lockdowns rear their heads again.

Jo Farnham, group client development director at CPM, said: “We’ve seen several market changes over the last few years, but the most profound change has been the switch people have made to using convenience retailers for most of their shopping following lockdowns, hybrid working and enforced work from home guidance. With major social events on the UK calendar this year and the government expressing a reluctance to introduce further lockdowns, the opportunities for brands within this channel are infinite.

“Our teams have unrivalled access to data to help map and predict convenience trends across the UK – providing brands with the tools to develop a sales strategy rooted in facts and figures. We deliver omnichannel activation with phygital expertise, and this approach is far superior to the broad-brush approach and as we’ve demonstrated with our customers, leads to a much greater penetration of the market.” 

For more insights into the current state of the convenience industry and how to unlock growth opportunities read CPM’s full report, Unlocking the Commerce of Convenience. Visit https://www.uk.cpm-int.com/convenience-thought-leadership to access the report.