Analyzing sales data, removing slow sellers, and rotating seasonal items can help drive sales of health and beauty aids in convenience stores.
The convenience store health and beauty product (HBA) category does not fit neatly into traditional marketing and promotional packages like other convenience store staples, despite the manufacturers’ massive advertising in print, at the same time. television and on social media. It’s not as if a loyalty program offering “Buy 10 Lip Balms, Get One Free” is driving traffic. Sure, some HBA manufacturers do offer coupons, but this incentive usually involves high volume sales in big box or grocery stores, not the occasional one-off purchase more common in convenience stores. So how do category managers and convenience store operators increase HBA sales?
The first step is to identify the sales histories for the myriad of products that fall under the HBA classification. Of course, not all stores will experience identical buying patterns, and for some businesses there may be no discernible predictors. However, the data could indicate which items dominate the category, which generate seasonal transactions, and which products are just an occasional purchase. From this information, in-store marketing efforts, such as discounts or bundles related to other products, can be developed and tested.
Inventory control will also contribute to the category’s ROI. Transporting items that sit for extended periods of time not only affects the overall profitability of the category, but also takes up valuable shelf space that could be used for higher performing HBA products.
Seasonal rotation is another inventory strategy to consider as a way to drive sales. Change your shelf position to showcase fall / winter or spring / summer products. Add simple signage to remind people that the store has cold / allergy / sinus remedies during cold and / or pollen seasons. When temperatures rise, opt for sunscreens.
Introducing new products from time to time can also pique the curiosity of customers. Just as new chip flavors can support snack sales, new HBA items can improve category performance. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this phenomenon is the addition of masks and a greater selection of hand sanitizers to meet demand during COVID-19.
However, don’t just add something new for the sake of adding something, as it could end up being a cost, not a profit. If cosmetics are rarely advertised at checkout, it won’t pay to add new shades of eye shadow, for example. But if condoms allow regular sales, it might be worth the investment by adding new options. If a significant percentage of the customer base is always on the lookout for items that are better for you or are sourced responsibly, then mix up natural or organic brands.
While the HBA category probably doesn’t match sales performance with other larger in-store categories, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the occasional promotion or inventory overhaul to increase sales.