OOH and Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) recently partnered to implement a new joint project, to demonstrate how to improve sales of soft drinks in the out of home channel. The move came after LRS, one of the UK’s leading soft drink manufacturers, emphasised the importance of range and space, and utilising big brands and consumer choice, when stocking your chiller.
With the soft drinks category currently worth over £419M to the buoyant café and coffee shop sector, and the fact that, on average, an outlet can make £12,000 per year from these products, it’s clearly an important part of any offering – and one you want to get right. LRS’s insight reveals the availability of a favourite soft drink is the number one sales driver in the out of home channel , with consumers stating that the quality and visibility of a brand are also key in the purchasing decision.
To demonstrate this, LRS decided to partner with an out of home operator to show that this information can be turned into profits when put into practice on the high street. They collaborated with the outlet over a four-week trial period, working alongside them to review their chiller and advise on small, simple changes that can increase sales.
It was decided to reach out to an independent for our study, and we quickly found the perfect partner in Said Essabih-Eddafali, the owner of The Food Bazaar. A versatile café in the busy Holborn area of London which, at the time of writing, enjoys an extremely impressive 4.5/5 average rating from 39 customer reviews on Google.
Said is a chef with over 30 years of experience. Having grown up in Casablanca in Morocco he moved to London in 1984, opening The Food Bazaar in 1989. Over that time he has built up a more than steady stream of loyal regulars, including many famous faces from the media businesses that are housed nearby, including newsreaders Trevor McDonald and Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
As we sat down to discuss drinks, he told us that they are “very important” to his business. “Everyone who buys a meal has a soft drink. We sell a real mixture.” When asked about his best-sellers, he interestingly revealed that bottles sell best. “As you can see, they are empty at the moment. We have to refill them daily.”
John Rumble, Head of Commercial Strategy & Execution for LRS, proceeded to explain what was about to be done to Said’s chiller – and, more importantly, why. “People are busy, so they need to find what they are looking for really quickly, make a decision, and then move on. The three key principles we want to talk about are: how can you speed up decision-making for the consumers when they come in? How do you maintain availability, so you’re not constantly having to restock? And, ultimately, how do you increase sales?
“What we have found is that if fixtures are really easy to navigate, sales can increase by up to 25%3. One of the other things we will look at is how you ‘signpost’ – segment and group similar products together. For instance, if you are looking for an energy brand, a big name will direct you towards that category.
“And then, finally, we need to look at doing anything that can speed things up. Laying out brands in vertical blocks can save about 40% of customers’ decision time. And the faster they can make a decision, the more likely they are to buy.”
“That’s very interesting,” replied Said. “I’ll be honest, normally we just stack them up!”
John and his team from LRS quickly got to work, applying the principles that had been discussed and making the chiller look much neater, more presentable, and, crucially, easier to navigate quickly. “Obviously you sell a lot of colas and diet colas, so those is all grouped together,” he explained to Said once they had finished. “The visibility will help speed up decision-making. It helps maintain availability; you’re busy enough, so you won’t have to spend as much time topping up. And if customers can find what they are looking for, sales should increase by about 25%.”
LRS tell us some 53%4 of consumers believe the soft drinks range is often predictable and boring, but that those who rate the quality on offer as being ‘good’ are 2.35×5 more likely to return. This means the prospects are good for Food Bazaar following the expert work undertaken by LRS’s team and should see a significant uplift in sales. Check back next month when we will revisit Said to see how business has fared since LRS’s support.
The magic number
The three key principles that lead to an effective layout and flow in the chiller:
1. Always stock the best-selling brands and try to include two facings for the biggest SKUs – these will catch your customers’ attention
2. Group similar products together so shoppers can easily navigate the range and include low and no sugar variants alongside their core equivalents to encourage trial
3. Vertically block the layout as this matches how customers view a range, and cuts search time by 40%