The location concept is something usually attributed to the real estate industry, with those who operate in that world constantly preaching its importance. The location of a property will be a large determining factor in its value. The same can be said of the convenience store industry as well, with the product placement determining the amount of attention it gets. Whether it’s the front end of the store or other shelves throughout, there are certain “hot spots” in which profitability can be maximized.
Convenience Store News cited a study that was done by Mars Chocolate/Wrigley to analyze some of the most sought after areas and the categories looked at most by consumers. One of the statistics is actually surprising: “’We learned that in c-stores, only one in three shoppers buy items at the front end, and most of them purchase tobacco and lottery tickets’” (Hanson, 2014). One would think that the Snickers and Reese’s of the world would see more success in these areas, but the other groups dominate this aspect. However, this isn’t to say that candy doesn’t see a high level of success in convenience stores. In Convenience Store News, the author of the article goes into more depth about the conducted study; “The study showed power categories in the convenience channel include candy, meat snacks, sweet snacks, energy shots, fresh fruit and bakery” (Hanson, 2014). These categories represent the most sought after products in these types of channels, and the brands involved need to pick their spots to optimize their exposure. Convenience stores can use placements to optimize their own sales levels as well.
Display and location are key, especially depending on when/where the consumers are spending most of their time. Something else to consider is the path that always will be taken; that to the register. “The research also found that most consumers’ ‘gaze time’ occurs between the register and the card swipe” (Hanson, 2014). During the time that the employee takes to ring up our order, we are looking at other items on that front shelf, or even behind the counter, to see if something catches our attention or reminds us of a desired taste/acquisition.
Brands and c-stores can use these spots to capture our gaze, depending on their strategy when it comes to the display. Their sales levels would be boosted by these strategies, especially if done in the right manner. For the consumers who visit a c-store for a few items, especially snacks, and don’t know necessarily what will satisfy their current craving, attention-grabbing brands can flourish and begin to bring in new customers. Instead of waiting on a potential consumer to walk down the aisle in which a brand/product is located, initiative should be taken to place it in areas where they almost certainly will pass, and use the display tool to capture their attention. The article states: “83 percent of candy purchases are impulse purchases” (Hanson, 2014). This can be applied to some other categories as well. Making sure that certain products are in the opportunistic location can ensure that one brand (or type of item in general) is seen as satisfying these impulses and desires over the others, as well as maximizing sales for the convenience store.
Hanson, Angela. “Turning Up the Heat With Hot Spots.” Convenience Store News. 2014