As vice president of category commercial operations for The Coca-Cola Company, Karla J. Radtke leads the development and implementation of product and package initiatives for the sparkling, water, tea, coffee, Glacéau, POWERADE® and VEB (venturing and emerging brands) categories across the United States. Earlier this year, she was named one of Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery for 2015.
Radtke took time to talk to CokeSolutions, offering insights into what grocery customers want today and tips for boosting your beverage business.
Q: In your opinion, what easy ways to increase overall beverage sales are many operators missing? In other words, what’s the low-hanging fruit for an operator today?
A: Low-hanging fruit include opportunities to pair beverages with complementary food items, such as a water rack or coconut water rack near produce, or offering cold availability at the front end and around the perimeter of stores to drive profitable sales.
Q: What’s driving Millennials when it comes to grocery shopping?
A: Innovation is key. Offer simple yet creative solutions for the unplanned trip.
Q: How can grocery store operators increase traffic during off-peak hours?
A: Promote fill-in trip items such as milk, bread and bananas and immediate-consumption items such as sparkling beverages, water, tea, and sports and energy drinks. Another opportunity is to offer refrigerated sparkling beverages to pair with the party occasion — especially in glass bottles.
Q: How can a grocery store operator make a store a go-to destination for meal planning?
A: You can set yourself apart by offering choice, as well as fast, easy, in-and-out “meals in minutes,” ready-to-serve meals and meals to grab and go.
Q: How can an operator create promotional events that really stand out?
A: Offer shoppable displays in high-traffic locations with engaging points-of-purchase to convert shoppers to buyers.
Q: What elements are important in converting shoppers into buyers?
A: Easy-to-locate, shoppable displays that fulfill a shopper occasion or need. Always offer clear pricing and inspiring messaging. And it’s crucial to have product in stock all the time.