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    The Key Challenges to C-store Merchandising Excellence: Part 3

    The checkout area is critical in this channel.

    By Justin Behar, Quri

    By now, you’ve significantly increased compliance with lessons from Part 1, optimized your point-of-purchase materials from lessons in Part 2, and you’re now ready to capitalize on your success by winning the fight for checkout-area merchandising.

    The checkout area is important in any retail environment, but none more so than the convenience channel. The very name of the channel — convenience — suggests why. In this environment, it’s all about impulse purchasing.

    C-stores are not consumer packaged goods (CPG) destinations, and the vast majority of traffic is in and out of the building within moments, often never penetrating beyond the checkout area. With this dominant traffic pattern present, semi-permanent displays around the registers and dump bins with cold beverages near the entrance are required to gain share and sales.

    Data Really Is Your Friend

    I know what you are thinking, this is all very obvious so far. The question is: How can you win the fight for checkout ahead of someone else? We are all fighting for the same space and know the dynamics.

    The key is data. Unlike many other channels, there is simply less data-driven selling occurring in the channel. When your team shows up with information about which displays work effectively, why and how compliance is driving sales in other c-stores, you will distinguish yourselves from the competition.

    This notion of data-driven selling is built on top of a foundation of excellent execution and optimized point-of-purchase materials. The final act is to use this success and the data behind it to secure checkout ahead of competitors.

    A Simple Story With Pictures

    These often privately owned store owners are not generally the sophisticated buyers from Walmart or Kroger. This reality is both an opportunity and a liability for you.

    On one hand, a data-driven selling story will stand out in the channel. On the other hand, too much data and complexity will numb their senses and they will tune you out.

    A best practice in this area is to tell a simple story with a couple data points and a few pictures:

    • Show the typical execution rates in the channel (49 percent) relative to your exceptionally high rates of 80 percent or more.
    • Articulate the work done to optimize the point-of-purchase materials using data to identify the best performing units.
    • Finally, talk about the sales gains with potential to capitalize on the impulse purchasing behavior in the channel.

    When your team arrives to sell in and manage these stores, their success will breed more success if there’s a crutch of data to lean on. The story builds on itself, a virtuous cycle is created, and once those checkout area displays are set, you become difficult to replace

    Unlike other channels where displays live for a couple weeks, these checkout areas (i.e. racks, strips, shelves, and dump bins) often settle in as a second or even third point of distribution. A huge win for such a small physical environment.

    Of course, like any market dynamic, this three-step process rewards those who move first, so it’s best not to delay this effort any longer.

    Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.

    By Justin Behar, Quri
    • About Justin Behar Justin Behar is the co-founder and CEO of Quri, a provider of retail performance intelligence. Quri provides an in-store view from the perspective of the shopper, empowering CPG companies to improve execution and performance at the store level. Previously, Behar co-founded Rutberg & Co., an investment bank focused on the wireless and digital media industries.

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