A walk in the park

Having a picnic

If we get any weather at all this summer, picnics, BBQs and other outdoor gatherings offer retailers the chance to grow sales and help customers enjoy a day in the great outdoors – or just the back garden.

Let’s go full-on optimistic and assume the next few months will see at least a few days of sunshine breaking up the incessant rain and grey skies. The rarity of a scorching weekend makes it all the more welcome for customers and, as we all know, it doesn’t take much in the way of sunshine for the average Scot to get semi-naked and lounging in the back garden or the local park with mates and family.

So, how best to make the most of that opportunity? One simple way is to either create a dedicated seasonal bay or fixture in your store, or mix it up more regularly on the one you already have.

Yes, a Euros fixture is likely to earn its keep over the month or so of the tournament, but seasonal bays often remain unchanged for months at a time in some stores. They rapidly become wallpaper and when that happens, they pointedly fail to drive the cross-category purchases that they exist to generate.

We know the Scottish weather is ‘changeable’. Four seasons in one day and all that. But it doesn’t take too much effort to check out the weather for the next few days on an app on your phone then spend an hour on your seasonal bay if it looks like we’ve got a decent weekend coming.

Categories like beer, cider and soft drinks will largely take care of themselves (as long as you have the foresight to get enough stock on the shelves and in the back store), but what about adding extra, incremental sales and driving big, bumper basket spends around the picnic and BBQ occasion?

Make it unmissable

The first step is to make your picnic fixture unmissable in-store, whether that’s by siting it in a high-traffic area or by jazzing it up with POS, beach balls and any other cheap tat you can find at B&M. It’s not sophisticated, but it will let every customer that enters your store know that they can get stocked up for a banging day out all in one place and all in 10 minutes.

Second, it’s time for local retailers to focus on making spending a lot of money as easy as possible for their customers. Don’t make them work by wandering around the store looking for stuff to help them enjoy their day in the sunshine. Put it all in one place so they can impulse-purchase to their heart’s content.

Range matters

In Scotland, of course, we have the challenge of licensing laws which make it more or less impossible to generate link-purchases with alcohol – and despite the Scottish Government’s strenuous efforts, alcohol remains a key component of most outdoor gatherings that take place on weekends in Scotland.

So a workaround is siting your seasonal bay near the alcohol fixture, or simply ensuring that you have plenty of picnic-friendly options behind the counter as every customer is going to have to visit the till before they leave anyway.

When it comes to ranging, yes, you’ll need all the big brand faves available and those will sell in volume, but why not try a few new lines that might tempt additional, incremental purchases alongside the eight-pack of Tennent’s and the bottle of Glen’s?

Speaking of Glen’s, they offer some picnic-appropriate RTD lines that offer something a little different.

James Middleton, National Account Director at Loch Lomond Group which owns Glen’s, says: “To make the most of this summer, and (with a bit of luck) the good weather, we would encourage retailers to offer consumers a variety of chilled, pre-mixed RTD products like Glen’s Vodka with Pink Lemonade and Glen’s Vodka with Cola. These simple, refreshing serves offer consumers bar-quality long drinks at an affordable price, making them the ideal choice for sport fans and any outdoor gatherings this summer.

“Selling RTD cans in single pack format at a competitive price point gives customers choice, catering to different needs and tastes. Our RTDs are a great example of this – offering customers the chance to try without committing to a multipack purchase, and then allowing them to come back to select the flavour best suited to them.”

In a similar vein, why not give fast-growing Four Loko a go? Their top-selling White can and the recently launched Dark Berry Burst are ideal for a party in the back garden.

Or how about a couple of brand-new products from Sorceress Brew? Only launched in March, these two lines apparently draw their inspiration from “ancient potions and mystical ingredients” and feature plenty of caffeine and sweet, tangy flavours.

Available in 500ml Strawberry & Lime and Blue Raspberry variants, the company says it uses ingredients sourced only from “ethically responsible suppliers”.

Both carry ABVs of 7.5% and RSPs of £2.99 making them affordable to a wide audience while the eye-catching packaging should help drive trial and impulse sales.

Sub zero

With more and more ostensibly soft drinks companies getting in on the alcohol game, there are more options than ever for retailers to cash in on the trust big brands enjoy when ranging for summer success.

A great example is ‘-196’, an RTD brand from Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I. Channel Director Matt Gouldsmith, says: “We’ve tapped into the growing shopper interest in this category with the launch of Japanese RTD brand -196 (minus one-nine-six) in Great Britain. We’ve launched two flavours of the brand, Lemon and Grapefruit, both at 6% ABV.

“The -196 brand name is a reference to the use of Suntory’s proprietary freeze crush infusion technology. This unique process freezes the whole fruit by using liquid nitrogen at -196°C and the frozen zest, pulp and juice are then crushed into powder and infused with vodka.

“The brand brings something new and different to the RTD alcohol category in Scotland, combining a traditional Japanese spirit with modern technology to deliver an exciting new taste and experience for shoppers, with strong standout on shelf.”

Mix it up

While knocking together complex cocktails in the middle of a park is possibly a challenge too far for many customers, even given the huge interest in mixed drinks, the obvious solution is RTD cocktails which deliver the best of both worlds: great-tasting summer drinks with literally zero effort.

Funkin Cocktails, the UK’s number one cocktail brand, is helping retailers cash in on that opportunity with its biggest on-pack promotion yet to mark 25 years of serving up the nation’s favourite cocktails.

The campaign offers up to £25,000 of prizes and will provide both retailers and consumers the opportunity to cash in over the summer months.

Funkin is rolling out 100,000 of its 700ml Bartender Edition Bottles featuring promotional neck tags alongside 80,000 Nitro Can Cocktail Mixed Party Packs complete with convenient QR codes.

Running through to 31 August, the promotion promises an immersive experience for cocktail enthusiasts nationwide. From scanning the QR code to visiting the dedicated website, participants can engage in a playful scratch card mechanic to enter the competition.

One lucky winner will secure a dream trip for two to Barcelona, whilst the prize pool also includes a Polaroid Now Gen Camera and a mini fridge stacked with Funkin Cocktails. In other words, the perfect picnic package.

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This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.