Coke Solutions

Merchandising the Cold Vault

Clear, concise signage encourages cold-beverage buys, and more

Upsell. Bundle. Discount. Suggest. Retailers have many options when it comes to creative merchandising of the cold vault. Whether the point-of-sale (POS) signage is on the fuel pump or the cooler door, the key is to keep the messaging clear and consistent.

“Take a look at your cold vault messaging. Is it concise? Does it clearly communicate what is important to your shopper – how much will it cost me and what’s in it for me?” asks Clint McKinney, group director category advisory and space strategy at Coca-Cola Refreshments, Atlanta, GA. “When it comes to increasing basket size, it’s crucial retailers keep their shoppers’ wants and desires top of mind. That means POS materials that clearly communicate two key points – price and opportunity.”

Start at the Pump
From daily specials and bundling promotions to credit/rewards card offers, c-stores have a lot to promote both outside and inside the store. Overwhelming shoppers with too many different messages is a common challenge.

To simplify the process, McKinney suggests retailers set a clear intention. “If your goal is to lure someone pumping gas to go inside and buy a cold beverage [and even get a chocolate bar for only a dollar more], then use clean, simple signage to encourage that,” he says. “But don’t clutter that message with promos about your rewards card, a two-for-one deal on snack products, or the lunch special. Less is more when you are trying to get a consumer’s attention and motivate them to take action in a short amount of time.”

The research into consumer shopping behaviors at c-stores is promising. iSHOP 2014 revealed some promising facts: 25% of shoppers that made a purchase inside the store came to that store specifically for a beverage; and nearly one-third of shoppers end up buying two items. Further, Coca-Cola’s ICEE research indicates that potato chips are in the basket about 6% of the time, meat snacks 4% of the time, and chocolate bars 8%.

“One obvious objective is for stores to convince more shoppers who come in for a beverage to buy a snack or candy item as well”, McKinney notes.

“Somehow you need to drive the person who picks up an icy beverage in the cold vault over to the candy or snack aisle to pick up something else,” he says. “You want to increase that overall basket size.”

One of the most successful new merchandising strategies for Coca-Cola this year is a “buy one full price, get a second one for a $1” promotion for The Company’s sparkling 20-oz. products.

Cross merchandising is another method proven to increase register rings. One popular promotion marries cold Coca-Colabeverages with Hershey’s Reese’s Cups. Cold vault shoppers are encouraged to grab a Reese’s to accompany their Coca-Colaproduct, and in the snack aisle, signage prompts consumers to pick up a cold Coca-Cola product to go with their Reese’s purchase.

“Retailers of any size can put together some simple opportunities for their shoppers,” McKinney says. “We’ve noticed that simply communicating the idea of a bundled solution – even without a price discount – still helps grow overall basket size at no cost to the retailer. Instead of offering a 50-cent savings, you can suggest shoppers grab a hot dog with that drink and make it a meal.”

POS Made Easy
Coca-Cola’s account managers work with retailer customers every day to create meaningful and impactful POS for any outlet. For those who want to do it themselves, The Company offers an online service that allows retailers to create and print quality beverage marketing materials without leaving their desks.

They can choose from hundreds of professionally produced POS templates or marketing materials, and customize them for retail or foodservice operations.

Design Machine allows retailers to:

  • Create high-quality, customized beverage marketing materials in a matter of minutes
  • Reduce retail costs and improve efficiency
  • Use store’s own food images and logo
  • Download customized POS in a high-resolution, print-ready file
  • Print-out on store printer or send to print shop

While the DIY program is invaluable, McKinney reminds retailers that excessive messaging across the cold vault doors can be distracting.

“I encourage our retail customers to work with their Coca-Cola account managers to ensure their communication is clear and consistent,” he says. “Remember, there’s a lot going on at the fuel pump and inside the store – too much signage diminishes the impact of what you are trying to communicate. Cut through the clutter and engage your customers.”

Published: August 07, 2015