COKE AND A MEAL

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Grocery -

Coca-cola may be the world’s big­gest bev­er­age com­pany, but it’s in­ter­ested in en­hanc­ing all cen­ter store sales. “It’s true that meal so­lu­tions are key to mak­ing busy shop­pers’ lives eas­ier while grow­ing bas­ket sizes, but not all meal­bundling so­lu­tions need to be found in the perime­ter,” says Ron Hughes, se­nior man­ager of shop­per strat­egy and in­no­va­tion at the At­lanta-based soft­drink be­he­moth. “As large stores fight to re­main rel­e­vant in an ever-chang­ing re­tail land­scape, The Coca-cola Co. is com­mit­ted to help­ing re­tail­ers re-en­er­gize the cen­ter store. And while the cen­ter aisles are de­clin­ing — re­search shows an $8 bil­lion dol­lar gross profit de­cline from lost trips to the cen­ter store — 75 per­cent to 80 per­cent of all gro­cery bot­tom-line prof­its are con­trib­uted by the cen­ter store.” Ac­cord­ing to Hughes: “To drive more traf­fic and sell more shelf-sta­ble meals, we first rec­om­mend re­tail­ers give their cen­ter store aisles a face lift. Shop­pers, es­pe­cially Mil­len­ni­als, seek an in­ter­ac­tive and per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence as they en­ter re­tail en­vi­ron­ments. We ask our [re­tail] cus­tomers to con­sider how the de­sign of the cen­ter store can at­tract and con­vert shop­pers. Along those lines, re­search shows that Mil­len­ni­als are al­ways look­ing for ways to high­light their in­ner chef, try new recipes and take their meals out­side of the box. We rec­om­mend cre­at­ing bun­dle of­fers that bring to­gether new fla­vors and in­no­va­tive bev­er­ages that shop­pers crave.” Act­ing on re­search re­veal­ing that 46 per­cent of shop­pers want help from re­tail­ers in mak­ing sim­ple recipes, Co­cacola cre­ated sev­eral kinds of bundle­of­fer mes­sag­ing with its re­tail cus­tomers through part­ner­ships with snack and meal providers. “One bun­dle of­fer that is ideal for cen­ter store is what we call ‘ready-tocre­ate’ meals,” ex­plains Hughes. “Th­ese bun­dles bring to­gether key in­gre­di­ents and a recipe to help busy shop­pers get in and out of the store with a meal they can make at home.” A re­cent ex­am­ple of this bun­dle type was a part­ner­ship with Hor­sham, Pa.-based Bimbo Bak­eries USA to of­fer Ball­park Hot Dogs and Ham­burg­ers for Na­tional Ham­burger Month in May and Na­tional Hot Dog Month in July. “The mer­chan­dis­ing solution in­cluded ham­burger and hot dog buns, and the prod­ucts shown to pair well with th­ese meals,” notes Hughes. “In this case, it was Coca-cola and Gold Peak Tea.” He adds: “As we’re en­ter­ing this new age of re­tail, we urge cus­tomers to cre­ate en­gag­ing in-store so­lu­tions to drive more traf­fic. We rec­om­mend in­creas­ing the amount of well-known brands and mak­ing the cen­ter store aisle more col­or­ful by po­si­tion­ing prod­ucts in blocks by their brand. We’ve also seen re­tail­ers sell more pack­ages by us­ing unique light­ing tech­niques in the shelv­ing units.” In-store tac­tics aside, Hughes also cau­tions that “re­tail­ers shouldn’t ig­nore ecom­merce and should con­sider ways to bet­ter in­te­grate with click-and-col­lect and de­liv­ery op­tions.”

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