General Merchandise/HBC

5 Strategies to Drive General Merchandise

Space allocation right-sizing, recognizing emerging consumer priorities key for convenience stores
Convenience store
Photograph: Shutterstock

Space allocation right-sizing. Recognizing emerging consumer priorities. Cultivating “specialty” HBC offerings. Capitalizing on the power of displays.

These are among the specific areas c-store retailers need to intently focus on to enhance a category that accounts for less than 2% of center-store sales.

Here’s how to make the effort worthwhile:

Space Allocation Right-Sizing

For smaller formats, 3 to 4 feet of space remains “the right allocation for retailers to benefit from this high-profit category and still meet many HBC needs of their consumers,” said Michelle Ridder, director of category management at Lil’ Drug Store Products.

“In larger format stores (2,500 square feet or more), we recommend retailers consider larger sets to encourage innovation in product selection and merchandising. Meet ‘unmet’ consumer needs in variety of sizes, brands, needs and prices, and [use] creative merchandising with pushers. Educational or promotional signage is recommended.”

Loosen It Up

For sets that are extremely tight, retailers can “create sets that are more shoppable, where products are easier to find and don’t fall off the peg/shelf when being shopped. Improved execution of best-in-class merchandising is essential because sets are easier to implement, as well easier to tag, update tags and restock.”

Emerging Priorities

The strain of the pandemic had several consumers prioritizing health and wellness more than prior to 2020, said Ridder. Some of the prioritized benefits include reducing stress and anxiety, illness prevention, improved sleep and energy, and weight management.

Cultivation of ‘Regimen’ Offerings

In the c-store and alternate channel markets, more strategizing is required for HBC “regimen,” or specialty, offerings—ones that stand apart from those emergency items, such as analgesics, lip balm and antacids, said Ridder. “Retailers considering these health promotion-type SKUs should pay extra attention to count and price, as well as bringing awareness to the consumer need via signage, promos, loyalty, destination and space.”

Dual-Purpose Displays

Ensuring that products in high demand remain in stock, operators can create awareness for the category. Secondary displays are optimal for such segments as lip care, sun care, cough/cold and allergy.

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