Tough times see retailers shine

Alison Adderley

It’s often said that crises can bring out the best in people. And for anyone that needs proof, look no further than the independent retail response to coronavirus.

by Alison Adderley, Field Sales Director at Coca-Cola European Partners


I’ve been inspired by how resourceful, compassionate and resilient local stores have been in recent months – playing an even more invaluable role in their communities.

Innovation and generosity

Since the beginning of the lockdown, we’ve seen countless examples of store owners thinking outside of the box to provide an essential service for local people – while ensuring the safety of customers and staff.

Dennis and Linda Williams, from Edinburgh’s Premier Broadway, set up a local hardship fund, and donated £1,000 of their own money.

Jawad and Asiyah Javed, from Day-Today Stenhousemuir, have created food parcels for the vulnerable and elderly in their community, as well as delivering free children’s meals and baby milk, and providing PPE and hand sanitiser to those in front-line roles.

Natalie Lightfoot from Londis Solo Convenience in Glasgow has partnered with the local pub and coffee shop to create care packages, and is among the many Scottish retailers who’ve been offering a delivery service through the Snappy Shopper app.

Snappy Shopper has been a big hit in Scotland, especially with Ross Macpherson and Mandi Duncan of Day-Today Doonfoot and Day-Today Barassie, who by early May, were sending out 60 to 80 deliveries a day.

What’s especially humbling about these stories (and many, many others), is that retailers have gone above and beyond to support the communities they serve, despite facing challenges themselves.

Supporting our communities

That’s why, as well as maintaining supply to the convenience channel of our best-loved brands, we’ve made financial and product donations to frontline workers and those who are vulnerable, and we’ve supported a series of industry initiatives.

We signed up to the C-19 Business Pledge, joining over 300 businesses and organisations in helping to tackle the pandemic, with our customers and communities in mind.

We also donated to the NFRN’s Covid-19 Hardship Fund, which has been awarding grants to members facing significant financial pressure.

A new opportunity

But there have been many positives. A recent HIM report revealed that the convenience market is set to grow by 8% in 2020, with unaffiliated independents outperforming this with growth of 11%1.

Nearly half of Brits have been shopping at local stores more regularly than they did before the coronavirus outbreak, partly to avoid crowds and queues at the supermarket, and also to support local businesses2.

By understanding the latest consumer trends, retailers can convert the new customers gained during lockdown into loyal shoppers, long-term.

The post-lockdown shopper

Many households have taken a cut in income recently3, and so are increasingly interested in value for money4 – but they still want to treat themselves with products like sparkling soft drinks5.

This is where price-mark-packs (PMPs) can come in as they offer shoppers visible value, reassuring shoppers that they can get the products they want, at an affordable price6.

In May, we reduced the recommended price points for our range of PMPs across our cola on-the-go and larger pack portfolio, which supports this demand.

Working together

Our field sales teams are now back on the road to support convenience retailers, with a focus on which products and pack formats are needed to meet shoppers’ needs.

Once again, thank you for going above and beyond during this time. For more information about the support we have to offer, please visit www.cokecustomerhub.co.uk.


[1] HIM/MCA Convenience Report May 2020
[2] Finder.com – Shopping in a Coronavirus World (May 2020) finder.com/uk/shopping-deals#corona-paper
[3] IGD ShopperVista; Base: 532 shoppers 1-14 March 20, 377 shoppers 15-21 March 20, 147 shoppers 22-28 March 20, 247 shoppers 29 Mar-4 April 20, 285 shoppers 5-11 April 20
[4] Ibid
[5]  HIM Lockdown and Snack Up: How UK consumers’ snacking habits have changed this month – April 2020
[6] HIM Focus on price-marked packs 2018