Selling at the C-Store: 4 Reasons Why Compact, Solid-State Cooling is Best
June 14, 2019
The average small convenience store (c-store) stocks 2,800 to 3,200 items in as many as 400 categories. For consumers, this means they are never at loss for options when it comes to choosing a beverage or snack. For brand and category managers, it means they are constantly faced with two key challenges: how to get their products to stand out among the endless options in the cooler shelves and how to get more of their product in front of consumers when space is at a premium.
Enter an innovative cooling alternative: compact, solid-state fridges and freezers. With solid-state cooling, retailers can place high-margin products in highly visible areas and display more products directly at the point-of-sale.
These smaller cooling displays can drive bigger sales opportunities at c-stores. Here’s why:
There’s a limited amount of time to drive awareness. The average time it takes a customer to walk into a c-store, purchase an item and depart is 3-4 minutes. In that short timeframe, many customers never even see the products in the back coolers and freezers. And if they do, they just grab the same thing they bought last time or whatever has the most stock. How can brands entice them with something new? By stimulating interest (and ensuring adequate stock for purchase) with a compact cooler at the high-impulse checkout counter.
A small footprint doesn’t have to mean low capacity. A compact, solid-state refrigerator or freezer has the ability to house greater inventory in a sustainable way. Solid-state cooling uses small, flat semiconductor chips to generate extremely stable, uniform temperatures. Since semiconductor chips are so much smaller than compressors and fans, they allow for up to 40% more storage in the same footprint as a traditional refrigerator or freezer. This means brands can store more, put more product in front of the customer, and decrease the chance of out-of-stocks.
A dedicated display enables creative marketing. Another way that some retailers are innovating is by cross-merchandising drink and food items. This is impossible in the typical fixed cooler setup but can be easily accomplished with a solid-state countertop fridge at the point-of-sale. Plus, the ability to easily swap refrigerator and freezer skins with custom magnets gets your products noticed and allows you to test customer engagement.
Solid-state cooling is simply more sustainable and requires less maintenance.Compressor-based refrigerators and freezers have a lot of mechanical parts that require upkeep and are complicated and time-intensive to fix. Without all of those moving parts, solid-state fridges and freezers are whisper-quiet, require minimal maintenance, and they also don’t release concentrated hot exhaust. And when there’s less maintenance and fewer repairs to worry about, you can focus on what matters most – sales and product promotion.
With compact, solid-state refrigerators and freezers, brands can finally gain control of the last mile of the supply chain by placing their highest margin products at impulse locations. Finding the right space – especially if it’s a space of your own – can make all the difference in c-store sales.
The grocery industry is ramping up at warp speed to manage the explosive growth of this segment. In 2016, online grocery sales were $20 billion; given the pandemic’s urgency and massive behavior chang
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