Taking the challenge

GlaxoSmithKline is working hard to keep its products fresh in the mind of retailers, especially over the summer months.

According to Nielsen figures, the fastest-growing soft drinks sub-category was glucose and stimulant drinks with 12% value growth to £522m. It is now the third largest sub-category by value.

Lucozade is a prominent player in this market and is looking to engage with retailers in the depot. Linking up with its sponsorship of Big Brother, GSK posed the Lucozade challenge to tackle the Big Brother Bucking Bronco. The prize for the retailer who stayed on the longest was either Red Letter Day vouchers worth £300 or the retailer’s choice of free stock to the value of £300.

The winner of the GSK day at the Park Royal depot of Bestway was Sunny Kapoor of Ragley Super Store in Acton with a time of 69 seconds. He chose the Red Letter Day vouchers.

The runner up was Surinder Bhatia of Sunny’s Superstore.

Bhatia, who has a store in a residential area of South Ealing, says the in-store activity by GSK is a good idea. “I already bought Lucozade, but it encourages me to have another look at it. Soft drinks are very important, especially when it’s hot. It’s the fastest selling category in my store at the moment. This is a very supportive move by GSK.”

Bestway provided a list of the top 100 retailers from the depot and GSK made sure they received a flyer to let them know the event was taking place. But it was also an opportunity to speak to retailers passing through the depot and engage with them about GSK brands.

Scott Meredith, trading controller at GSK, says: “Summer is a key period for soft drinks sales and our summer fun days are designed as a great way to bring all the fun and excitement of our leading Ribena and Lucozade brands directly to retailers in depot. We also used the fun days as an opportunity for our soft drinks category experts to meet with retailers directly and give category leading advice on how to maximise sales of soft drinks. Our advice to retailers is clear, simple and actionable. The five easy to follow key category principles are range, layout, equipment, communication and location. By following these principles retailers can get the basics right and are proven to make a positive impact on soft drinks sales.

“During the course of the summer fun days we have been able to meet with hundreds of retailers who have been really engaged with the summer fun activity. We were delighted so many retailers took part in the Lucozade Energy Challenge and rode the Bucking Bronco. There were some great and not so great times, but everyone who had a go; had fun and survived the challenge.”

Nad Hussain, wholesale development executive for GSK, was at the depot on the day. He says: “Lucozade is a fun energetic brand and this provides the opportunity to do something different in the depot.”

He says the link up with Big Brother allows Lucozade to use the Big Brother, Little Brother dynamic established through sponsorship of the TV show. In the idents Little Brother dares Big Brother to do various challenges which Big Brother always achieves. The idea of taking on challenges is a theme Lucozade is using in its promotion.

Hussain says: “Making sure the range is right is very important. You need the right range, layout and merchandising.”

To help with this, GSK has developed a list of the top ten SKUs that independents should be stocking. Hussain adds: “Retailers stock what customers ask for. But sometimes one customer will ask for a product and they might be the only one buying it.”

According to GSK, 80% of all soft drinks sales come from 20% of the product range and it has listed the top ten SKUs in a leaflet that is handed out to retailers.

Hussain says displaying the same message in the depot as to the retailers, allows for a flow through of information and retailers can see the link between the two. He says there are many places in depot to provide information such as leaflets in the reception, information in the aisle of the depot with bus stops, front of depot stock display and A0 sized posters facing the checkouts.

GSK says that more shoppers buy into soft drinks than any other category within cash and carry, so it needs to be in an easy-to-find location.

Adalat Chaudhary, board director of Bestway Cash amp; Carry, says: “We are always delighted to host these type of events and the GSK day seemed to go very well with a lot of customers interested and taking part. It is further evidence of demonstrating a good working partnership between Bestway and its suppliers. Let’s hope it shows its worth with increased sales all round.”

The depot visit also allowed GSK to showcase some of its other products, including sampling of its Ribena Strawberry. Retailer, BR Patel, who runs an off license in Kensal Green, Harrow, said he was going to buy some because he had liked the taste after trying it.

Complementing the Ribena tasting was a prize draw to win a Ribena staff member for one day and a Ribena day with store sampling and giveaways. Five runner ups received £50 worth of Ribena 500ml.

Meredith adds: “Overall feedback from customers has been great and we were very please to be able to provide additional support to them. We will definitely look at running similar experiential and sales driving activities for our leading brands in partnership with wholesale customers.”

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