Beverages are a huge profit center for convenience stores. Let’s look at the numbers:
- Beverages are the top selling item in convenience stores just behind cigarettes
- They’ve had double-digit growth for the past 5 years
- 7/10 of the most successful product launches in convenience stores were beverages
You would think convenience stores would have a state-of-the-art process for managing inventory levels, process and productivity for a product this crucial to their bottom line—but they don’t and they aren't.
Our extensive experience in this category revealed convenience stores lacked the understanding of their inventory levels—where they fall short and where they need to increase levels to drive sales in their top selling category. They also lacked the data to answer crucial questions to grow this part of their business and build a happy customer base.
Do they have the right inventory levels on the right drinks like their top sellers do?
Do they have just the right amount of choices?
Are their shelves stocked and loaded during crucial parts of the days and seasons?
RBG designed a highly customized project for one of the country’s largest C-Stores in order to enable them to take a deep dive into inventory levels on top-selling drinks—ensuring the right products were in stock at the right time.
We visited more than 300 locations in a specific region and physically hand-counted the bottles and cans of the top-selling drinks. We also took photos of the shelves to create a visual story of what fully stocked fridges look like vs. light or empty fridges. The customer experience is very much linked to both the level or service provided and the overall shopping experience. If the customer visits a store for a certain drink that isn’t in stock, that negative experience will not just result in a parched customer—but an unhappy one as well.
This analysis project uncovered crucial inventory shortfalls on top-selling beverages, which is an essential and basic need in the customer’s experience.
When fridges were stocked, convenience stores saw an increase in sales.
Analyzing the various locations enabled us to verify the top-selling drinks to help understand inventory levels of each and how they needed to differ by location.
Having the right drinks in stock was directly linked to the total sales for a particular location and increase in upsales. We know that sodas and cold drinks are the #2 selling item purchased with a prepared food, so understanding inventory and rightsizing allows the store to proactively prepare for people to make that additional purchase.
It is essential to understand inventory levels especially in a top selling category. This unequivocally plays a role in driving sales. Additionally, this analysis is 100% linked to the customer’s experience. If a customer walks in and their drink of choice isn’t in stock, they will be frustrated and will likely question going back to that business or location the next time they’re craving a cold drink.
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