Kum & Go Testing Coke's 'On The Road Again' Merchandiser

Retailer conducting 24-week pilot in five markets

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Kum & Go convenience stores in five markets are testing a merchandising concept that has emerged from The Coca-Cola Co.'s Shopper Experience Innovation (SEI) process, according to the Coke Solutions, the beverage maker's resource that provides beverage industry trends and soda marketing ideas.

To enhance cross-category shopping and help c-stores drive units and check rings, Coca-Cola Co. has created the On The Road Again (OTRA) merchandising solution, a new cooler designed to capture impulse buys, enhance foodservice operations and generate combo sales by placing Coca-Cola beverages and shoppers' snack and meal items within arm's reach.

"We believe OTRA will help Kum & Go meet multiple business objectives and enable us to serve our customers quickly," said Richard Ginther, category manager of Kum & Go LC. "From our perspective, OTRA promotes combo sales, brings attention to our foodservice operations and provides a convenient, time-saving process for our shoppers, allowing them to get in and out of the store quickly with multiple purchases."

The retailer is conducting the 24-week pilot in 37 stores in Omaha, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; Tulsa, Okla.; northwest Arkansas and Springfield, Mo.

OTRA is a cross-category merchandising solution that brings together organization, simplicity and messaging. The design has a 10-inch video screen with frequently updated brand and promotional messaging. It features a cooler with the capacity to hold up to 126 20-fluid-ounce beverages and has five exterior shelves on either side that can be stocked with sweet and salty packaged goods, appealing to a variety of snacking occasions. The sleek, compact unit fits into a footprint of 9.4 square feet, said the company.

"Beverage and food sales are critically important to our retailers, and convenience is a driving force behind why shoppers visit c-stores," said Russell Baker, group director of retail channel planning and development for Coca-Cola Refreshments. "We relied on a breadth of insights such as these to provide the inspiration to develop OTRA. We see it as a key part of the Company's mission to create irresistible in-outlet shopping experiences that help our retailers drive their business forward."

At fast food restaurants, guests make one stop at the counter to order food and beverages, and to pay. In a c-store, they have to visit at least three areas to accomplish the same tasks--the cooler or fountain, the snack aisle and the sandwich or foodservice area, as well as the cash register. OTRA enhances shoppers' ability to grab and go, while helping to improve retailers' profitability.

Kum & Go is testing both the "basic" cooler, as well as the solution accompanied by its sandwich and branded snack offerings to satisfy shoppers seeking an easy, grab-and-go meal or a snack. The solution provides trays to encourage shoppers to fill out their combos.

OTRA is one of several new concepts to emerge from the company's Shopper Experience Innovation process, which is creating a pipeline of solutions that Coca-Cola has designed to drive growth for our customers. As part of this initiative, the company recently launched the Shopper Experience Innovation Center (SEIC), a multi-channel facility for the collaborative development, refinement and validation of ideas and shopper experience solutions that will drive growth.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is the world's largest beverage company, with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, its portfolio features 15 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go is the fifth largest privately held, company-operated convenience store chain in the United States. The family-owned company began in 1959, in Hampton, Iowa, and has grown to more than 420 convenience stores in 11 states (Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming). In addition to a wide selection of products, Kum & Go provides customers a proprietary mix of products under the Hiland brand. Other proprietary product offerings include Java Ridge Premium Coffee, Napa Creek and Sea Ridge wines, Go Fresh Market sandwiches and Nuclear energy drinks.