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Historically, testing new product lines has been an expensive and cumbersome process. One of the biggest hurdles has been identifying outlets with the data capabilities to capture and analyze test results. This used to be limited to groceries or big-box retailers, which typically accompanied costly buying and slotting policies. Now, convenience stores have emerged as a unique and cost-efficient channel for new product testing with strong insight capabilities, similar to what is available for brands in grocery and drug channels. This can be a more productive testing ground for some categories of merchandise due to their impulse nature and consumer preference over other channels for beverage, coffee, snack, and beer trips. Advanced and real-time basket, daypart, and store-level data helps brands optimize these rollouts with their retail and supply chain partners. In the last year large suppliers like Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light Seltzer), PepsiCo (Mountain Dew Zero Sugar, Flamin’ Hot extensions), Monster (Reign), Hershey (line extension with Peanut Butter Cups with Pretzels), and others have launched new brands or concepts with a keen focus on performance in convenience outlets. Better Focus, Lower Cost C-store-specific packaging and promotions can now be tested with lower investments and more projectible results. The new c-store data capabilities provide POS insights for basket and loyalty analytics that put convenience retailers on par with the most sophisticated data systems of big-box retailers. Because there are four times as many c-stores as groceries, there are much more locally relevant data sets that can be leveraged for CPG brands that sell through that channel. This also creates unique location-specific optimizations as stores have less excess capacity for inventory. This larger geographic footprint also means tests can better overlay regional demographics, or be segmented by such demographics during performance analysis. C-stores’ smaller basket sizes help isolate purchase behavior for clearer views of offer performance. These smaller basket sizes also make it easier to identify and analyze itemset correlations for results on cross-selling or bundling. Revving Up Revenue Growth Management As the ultimate impulse purchase environment, c-stores simplify behavioral factors in studies. This can refine the data fuel for brands practicing Revenue Growth Management (RGM)—the discipline of achieving sustainable, profitable growth through a wide range of strategies focused on assortment, promotions, trade management, and pricing. RGM depends on inputs that are the primary drivers of purchase in a c-store environment. Elements of RGM can be tested through c-stores with controls for…

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