Plan for Success with 2018 Fountain Promotions

How to develop clear objectives and promotions

fountain drinks

Brought to you by Whirley-DrinkWorks!

Within every convenience store, there’s ample opportunity for customers to purchase a beverage. Retailers work hard to promote each category—from bottled drinks to beer, coffee to the soda fountain—to ensure optimal profits and sales. 2017 is winding down, and it’s time to start thinking about the best plans for 2018 to maximize fountain sales.

Developing clear objectives for dispensed beverage promotions is key, as is having set measures for success, and category managers should partner with marketing teams to ensure both of those are squared away.

Beyond that, tying the fountain programs into foodservice can help, particularly by adding limited time offer promotions, new flavor trials or combo deals. Finally, if you have a loyalty program, create enticing offers to drive sign up participation, then engage the customers who signed up with relevant social media content that drives them back to your store.

Category managers and marketing: A match made in heaven

According to Technomic’s 2016 Beverage report, 47% of consumers purchased a regular soft drink from a c-store in the past month. In the past, customers were served well with a standard array of options to choose from at the fountain, but nowadays, with competition so fierce, category managers have a tough job deciding what to offer at the fountain. Pleasing everyone is no easy task, but that’s where marketing teams come in.

Previously, category managers may have had to figure out what would be good ideas for pairings or promotions on their own based on what was selling, but working together with marketing and vendors and suppliers to determine what will be the most profitable and engaging offers to make can give the category a boost.

Traditionally, promotion criteria and objectives are set with goals for sales, units sold and—of course– margin. But retailers should consider total market basket when measuring success and how the promotion drives overall customer traffic and store sales.

Creating a calendar for promotions to roll out throughout the year is an effective best practice and is far more ideal than working on the fly and coming up with promotions one at a time. Having a plan keeps everyone focused on timelines and execution elements, which are critical to success.

Pairing the fountain with foodservice and enhancing loyalty programs

One effective way to help boost fountain success is by pairing it with the foodservice program. Offering loyalty programs that reward purchases of food items as well as fountain drinks and coffee are key for ensuring that more customers buy in. For instance, offering combo meals is a good way to boost engagement.

Increasing participation with fountain drinks in particular is fairly simple as well. For example, retailers can offer a “refill mug” LTO offer with the loyalty program to boost sales of something seasonal, and it can also drive purchase frequency. Promote these offerings via social media as well as through the store’s loyalty app to reach more people.

Additional ways to get people in the store to enjoy fountain drinks include:

  • Launch an in-store marketing campaign with point of sale displays communicating offer
  • Call out promotions with pump toppers calling out promotions
  • Get workers onboard with upselling to customers by offering crew incentives or even implementing a competition between stores or regions
  • Keep customers engaged on social media with notifications and incentives to visit

Retailers looking to enjoy fountain success next year should remember that it’s key to work together—going it alone might be easier at the outset, but working with marketing teams, app developers and loyalty program managers and vendors can mean an increase in success and an increase in overall traffic—not just at the fountain.