Convenience stores have opportunity to take greater share of main shop mission, says DCS


Throughout the on-going pandemic many shoppers are turning to local convenience stores for their big basket or main shop. By stocking the right product range, complemented by the right pricing and promo strategy, the UK’s leading distributor, DCS Group says convenience stores have a great opportunity to take a greater share of this main shop mission.

To help wholesalers and retailers make the most of the sales opportunity, DCS ran a ‘Destination Convenience’ customer sales day via a webinar on Thursday 21 May, focusing on the Personal Care category. The aim was to equip customers with the tools and information needed to drive the right activity in wholesale depots and convenience stores, by increasing customer loyalty and driving overall sales and profitability.

convenience retailers need
to offer premium tiers

The ‘Destination Convenience’ day consisted of two half-hour channel insight briefings, followed up with direct conversations between customers and account managers.

Clare Bocking, chief commercial officer of DCS Group, said: “We are delighted with the results of our first sales webinar and have set up further events for the next few months. The team has worked with our customers to identify key product range gaps and opportunities for growth, and agreed new listings by the end of the following day.

“Due to changing consumer behaviours throughout lockdown, we have seen a number of personal care categories grow by up to 300% in convenience stores due to increased footfall. With the right product range, we’ve shown our customers how this presents them with a huge opportunity.

“To become a destination store and win the share of main shop missions, convenience retailers need to offer shoppers more than just top-up. This means offering larger main shop pack sizes, premium tiers, and new adjacent categories,” she added.

The distributor highlights examples of how convenience retailers can fulfil shopper missions, maintain footfall and support the current trend in basket spend:

  • Pregnancy tests (e.g. Clearblue) – key shopper needs, high value and cash margins
  • Smoking cessation (e.g. Nicorette) – key shopper needs, high value and cash margins
  • Premium tiers (e.g. Oral B Pro Expert toothpaste, Gillette Mach 3 razors) – key trade-up opportunities with very loyal consumers who won’t buy alternatives except in absolute emergencies
  • Adult Incontinence (e.g. Always Discreet, Tena) – one of the fastest growing categories in the market, huge opportunity being missed in the convenience channel
  • Gift sets – with increased footfall, these become incremental/impulse opportunities all-year-round
  • The antibacterial trend is spreading across multiple categories with any product with antibacterial claims in high demand. DCS suggests grouping products together in depot and in store to drive cross-category impulse sales.
  • Skin Care is often overlooked in the convenience channel, but is now of critical importance. Increased handwashing is leaving consumers with dry and sensitive skin, as does extensive face mask usage, so hand moisturisers (Vaseline, Neutrogena, Nivea) and face moisturisers (Simple) are great opportunities for growth.
  • Oral Care is important to consumers for two reasons. Firstly, the perceived antibacterial qualities of mouthwash. Secondly, as dentist surgeries are currently closed to all but emergency appointments, awareness of good oral is heightened as consumers want to avoid an unnecessary dentist visit.

Customers who took part in the sales day webinar included Neil Tough of CJ Lang & Son Ltd: “DCS’s Destination Convenience category presentation was very useful. It demonstrated opportunities for our retailers and more importantly their shoppers. In a time where we are focused on retaining the additional footfall in our stores, this is the insight that we need to help us achieve that.

Rahul Kotecha of Dhamecha added: “I am really impressed with the proactivity DCS has demonstrated in running virtual category sessions at this time. It was on topic and relevant.”

“It was good to virtually attend the Destination Convenience Day with DCS. The information presented was very useful and gave good insight on the convenience market,” said Darren Pugh of Unitas.

“With financial uncertainty abound, many shoppers are looking to save money. We know that over half (53%) of shoppers are actively looking to buy products at a special price, but twenty eight percent (28%) have detected price increases with more than one fifth (22%) noticing a reduction in price promotions. Retailers need to pass savings on to shoppers, and potentially accept lower percentage margins, particularly on high value products and large packs, in the pursuit of greater overall cash profit,”concluded Bocking.

DCS offers impartial category and ranging advice for wholesalers, convenience retailers, discounters, high street retailers, and foodservice and pharmacy distributors. It has also published a Core Range guide for convenience retailers, with guidance on how to stock the right categories and maintain availability on shelf.