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    Panelists Focus on Front End at ECRM Conference

    Presentation gives tips on maximizing checkout performance.

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- By focusing on products that have the highest household penetration, high purchasing frequency and are heavily bought on impulse, retailers can drive improved performance at the front-end checkout area of their stores.

    In a presentation Tuesday morning at the Convenience and Front End Checkstand Efficient Program Planning Session, being held here by conference organizer ECRM, representatives from Wrigley, Time-Warner and consulting firm Dechert-Hempe discussed ongoing research conducted since 2002 on maximizing front-end performance.

    While the bulk of the presentation focused on grocery checkstand research, the panelists did provide some insights for convenience store retailers. For c-stores, consumers’ primary reason for shopping the store is beverages, with 48 percent of respondents to the Dechert-Hempe survey, compared with 43 percent who said gas, 27 percent who said cigarettes and 23 percent who said confectionery. Thus, unlike at grocery stores where beverages are more of an impulse item, cold beverages are a destination category for c-stores.

    “Forty percent of your shoppers will go to the beverage cooler,” said Mike Lanaghan, manager of in-store strategy for Wrigley. “You need to cross-merchandise chips and other salty snacks at your cooler.”

    Among their other recommendations for c-stores:
    -- Merchandise top selling snacks at checkout;

    -- Merchandise candy in or on coolers to generate impulse sales;

    -- Merchandise single-serve snacks in the foodservice area to generate additional snack purchases;

    -- Use merchandising vehicles at the gas pumps to attract pay-at-the-pump customers into the store; and,

    -- Focus secondary merchandising locations on the categories that have high penetration, frequency and impulse -- such as candy, potato chips and gum.

    Lanaghan noted additional insights for convenience stores are available at www.frontendfocus.com.

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