Tips for Merchandising During Supply Chain Disruptions
Today’s current supply chain crisis has impacted industries around the world and the independent convenience store market has not been immune to these disruptions. Thankfully, given the agile nature of these stores, there are ways for retailers to adapt quickly to change. And even though the supply chain crisis might not course correct for some time, independent c-store retailers and brands are in a position to respond to ongoing change.
While there’s little that can be done by retailers to resolve issues on the front end, there are steps that can be taken to reduce risk, optimize operations, and maximize profits in the meantime. Especially for independent convenience store owners, CPG brands, and customers that depend on the consistent availability of product inventory, an unreliable supply chain creates huge roadblocks. So it’s time to shift from an approach of riding out the storm to a long-term strategy that plans for regular disruptions into the foreseeable future.
The core of that strategy should be merchandising. In c-stores, signage works. At Skupos, we’ve observed that stores that place promotional signage during one of our single or multi-brand promos are more than three times as likely to run successful promotions compared to those that don’t. And stores that run promotions often sell more than twice as many units of promoted products over stores that don’t run promotions. Especially under the current circumstances, merchandising remains crucial to the success of retail businesses. Here are some basic steps to follow to forge a path forward:
Merchandising In-Store Promotions
With product availability and the ability to run promotions more unpredictable, many c-store owners and brands are struggling to merchandise effectively. For brands, devise a flexible merchandising strategy for in-store promotions and build it into your budget. It may look different than how you merchandised in the past, and it won’t be the same for every c-store. Think things like fill-in-the-blank signage so deals and products can be switched out as needed. Promotional signage should be eye-catching and displayed prominently. Don’t make customers hunt for your promoted products, or you’ll risk losing them to a competitor with more prominent displays.
For retailers, look into investments like digital signage, which allows stores to be more flexible as promotions change. Remember, effective merchandising is a key factor in the success of a promotion, so make sure you are displaying what brands send you, and also getting creative with ideas of your own!
Use Data to Create a Comprehensive Budget
Both brands and retailers should lean into store performance data when creating their merchandising budgets. Strong data can help them decide whether or not it’s the appropriate time to invest in new merchandising practices. Supply chain disruptions can lead to some lean times, so tracking store performance data helps determine where merchandising needs lie. Not only will retailers be able to determine which core SKUs and high-selling products to merchandise for, but it’ll help them select which types of merchandising to purchase, i.e. static clings, end caps, digital signage, etc.
Always Stay Focused
Convenience store merchandising should be hyper-focused on top-performing categories, high-volume suppliers and core products (for both retailers and brands). This strategy can help protect brands and retailers against weaknesses in the supply chain and makes the most of premium c-store space.
Merchandising during a supply chain crisis can seem like a daunting task. However, if independent c-store brands and retailers can remain flexible, it’ll help reduce loss during challenging times. Not to mention, merchandising can oftentimes be the best way to keep profits high by encouraging impulse purchasing and increasing basket sizes. Properly merchandised stores are able to get the most out of every transaction. So while we’re still in the midst of an ongoing supply chain crisis, don’t overlook the merchandising of core and high-velocity products and in-store promotions.