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The snow drops are not quite peeking above the chilly ground but it is certainly time to think about spring confectionery! There are a number of things that help to lift the spirits when we’re in the thick of the colder months and chocolate is certainly one of them. Familiar spring occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter allow businesses to ring the changes and offer themed selections that will help to boost sales. But how is it best to logically approach this time of year and what are the ones not to miss? Having successfully traded through 52 spring seasons, we thought that some top-line advice might be helpful.
Is it worth it?
Let’s first tackle the supermarket issue head on. There are some that say “Easter is a lost cause unless you’re a supermarket! They just discount all of the shell eggs and leave no profit in it for anyone”. It is true that the supermarkets and discount chains will no doubt loss lead with a range of branded eggs. Perhaps they have started something that they can’t stop now. But that is by no means the end of the Easter or indeed the spring opportunity!
A savvy retailer will keep an eye on the competition. The fact that there is competition demonstrates the opportunity for selling confectionery around these occasions actually! Know what is going on in your locality and trade outside of the price wars. We know that standard sized branded eggs are generally the subject of these wars. It doesn’t mean that you have to avoid them entirely as you might be located far away from larger stores and have a target audience. But make your decision with knowledge and not broad assumptions.
If you choose to avoid the mainstream branded eggs (and many will) consider premium branded eggs which are not so readily fought over, allowing for better margins. And of course there is the branded filled egg market that we shall discuss shortly.
Then take a look beyond the main brands. There are loads of options and some great margins to be had whilst offering your customers some different and great value ideas. Think outside the box.
Start early and tweak as you go
The spring season has officially started where confectionery is concerned. In fact it started straight after Christmas when demand appeared for the likes of the Crème Egg. Get into gear now and you’ll enjoy these early season sales which can really make the difference.
The filled egg market first originated with Crème Egg of course (and it still leads the pack by far) but today there are so many options. Shoppers buy these affordable sub £1 treats on impulse and they will keep buying them until well after Easter. Generally sold in self merchandising boxes, retail a selection to maximise the potential of this lucrative market. If you have space for only one, it has to be Crème Egg.
January is also the month to develop a spring display that can be maintained throughout the coming weeks right up to Easter and tweaked for each occasion. Shoppers need to understand that you are going to offer them ideas for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and then Easter. Some products will suit all occasions (there is a general gifting requirement over the spring) whilst you’ll want to stock others to cover just one event. Mixing these two ideas will help you to effectively manage stock whilst also maintaining an attractive and relevant display.
Your display might simply focus on confectionery or it could include other categories too. Think about the best way forward for your business and be as proactive as you can – good displays really do sell more products.
Cater for all ages
If you think that Valentine’s Day is just for adults you’d be wrong. Many children and teens will have plenty of fun with the romantic occasion and will be looking for affordable fun. Bulk pick and mix sweets can be great here in addition to the iconic brand, Swizzels Love Hearts. From Cherry Lips to Heart Throbs, there’s plenty of ideas to add a touch of love on a low budget. Swizzels Love Hearts are sold in many formats and a top seller is Mini Love Heart rolls; perfect to sell amongst pick and mix or individually for just a few pence.
Cover the purchase occasions
There are a variety of purchase occasions and price points to consider. Not everyone wants to buy a £3 box of chocolates or a £5 shell egg! Which to cover will depend very much on your own business and your specific customer profile. Give this some thought and if you have previous trading history to draw on, consider the areas that sold well (and those that did not) in previous years. Here’s a selection of occasions and price points to ponder:
If you do nothing else, stock these!
Need more help?
Hancocks can help you on a bespoke basis and we’re more than happy to. Pop in and see us at one of our cash & carries or get in touch with our online department. We can give you advice that is specific to your requirements and help you to plan a spring confectionery season that will make the most of this very important time of year.
0800 319 6951