3 Steps to Boost Dispensed Beverage Buys

LTOs, promotions key to driving occasions

beverage dispenser

Brought to you by Whirley-DrinkWorks!

It’s no secret that consumers often stop at c-stores to quench their thirst, and dispensed beverages are critical for capturing those drink dollars. In fact, some 62% of all c-store consumers buy foodservice beverages, according to Technomic’s 2017 Winter Convenience Store Marketbrief.

But while 42% of all consumers say buying gas is their primary reason for a c-store visit, just 14% say the same about beverages, the report found.  So, how can you get more customers into the store and create excitement around dispensed beverages?

Consumers favor a diverse beverage selection. Beyond that, though, creating limited-time offer refill promotions to support your key selling seasons and selecting a few engaging beverage promotions pegged to special days, holidays, sporting events and more can not only boost sales, but it can also drive visits, too.

Determine Your Goals

First, consider your dispensed beverage category objectives and desired results. Are you looking to build consumer engagement and loyalty? Are you looking to boost foodservice sales? Are you simply looking to build brand awareness and get customers into your store so they’ll make other purchases?

Partner with your marketing team to see what’s on their promotional calendar and how you could potentially tie into a bigger campaign and get vendor marketing support.

Your promotional calendar could simply be tied to the changing seasons. Parker’s, for example, offered a summer fountain drink deal for customers who purchased a 40th anniversary insulated cup. Kwik Trip gave consumers a free 16-ounce Karuba coffee, cappuccino or hot chocolate for texting the word “Thanksgiving” during a one-day promotion.

But there’s no need to stop there. There’s a different food holiday every day of the year. Or, you could create your own buzzworthy, beverage-focused “holiday.” Think of your operation’s signature drink and build a promotion around that. 7-Eleven, for example, gives out free Slurpees on July 11, a program that drives consumers into stores and garners headlines each year.

Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to plan.

Consider Your Product Set

The second step is to select the right products to support your promotional goals—maybe it’s a special LTO refill mug, a new dispensed beverage flavor offering or a foodservice item offered as a bundle. Determine which compelling offer will engage customers and motivate increased purchases.

Take It to Market

The final, and most important step, is execution. Develop an integrated list for necessary items such as displays, point of sale, equipment translites or coupon offers. Create a planogram so stores can easily follow best practices.

In-store promotions can also be a great way to boost mobile engagement. Offer deals for loyal consumers via your app. And be sure to track your promotions on a spreadsheet or via a calendar program to keep a sense of the year’s plan and results.

Whether you’re new to featuring beverage promotions or have run them before, have a roadmap for tracking the offer’s success. Look to sales data during the promotion to see if your offer is a money-maker that is worth repeating.