Wholesalers must launch chill-out campaign

The Take Home Blueprints have consistently recognised chilled drinks as an imperative for independent retailers.

There is one fundamental reason for this: chilled gives the local independent a major benefit and huge point of difference over the giant superstores who cannot match the closeness and convenience of the neighbourhood store. Can you imagine it?

Popping out to the out-of-town giant to buy a chilled beer and then queuing up at the check-out and then driving home?

Chilled beers, wines and ARTDs are responding to the drink-now culture that the independent retail sector services. According to independent research, 95% of all beer consumers will drink their purchase on the same day and almost all premium beer drinkers require their product to be cold. Also, more than a third of chilled beer is bought as part of an impulse or emergency shop.

“Today we are drink-now consumers, where we are looking for the convenience of picking up a bottle of wine, four ARTDs, a few bottles of beer perhaps, and being able to drink them sooner rather than

later, rather than have to plan ahead and chill them at home,” comments Ross Shelley, Take Home Blueprint Scheme director.
“Research has proven this is the case and independent retailers are the natural outlet to offer this.

“Chilled alcohol is a massive point of difference and that is why we have always strongly recommended that stores offer this. Purchasing ready-chilled drinks is all about convenience.”

In best practice the Take Home Blueprint recommendations would be to use a dairy deck for all ales, lagers, ciders, wines and ARTDs and remove all non-chilled alcohol on offer. If retailers do not have this facility they should make best use of double-door chillers.

“Complement your ambient fixtures with brands across all ranges, including bottled and canned premium lager, mainstream lager, cider, white and rosé wine and ARTDs,” says Shelley, who appreciates the level of investment required.

He adds: “The advice is simple. Cater for your customers needs. We advise retailers to find a harmony between their knowledge of their customers and the Blueprint principles.

“If, in warmer weather, your chiller isn’t big enough to cater for everyone’s tastes then consider having chilled stock in the back. Finally, if you do offer chilled alcohol then retailers should advertise this fact. Grab the impulse shopper with a sign in the window, for example.”

One of the greatest exponents of profitable chilled drinks turnover is Sid Ali, who runs two stores at Mintlaw and Maud in Aberdeenshire (pictured above with his relaid chilled display).
Sid, an award winning independent, has doubled his entire alcohol sales since Blueprint encouraged him to focus on his chilled opportunities.

He told ProWholesaler: “I believe every retailer could add 10% to 15% in turnover and profit by thinking chilled.

“I appreciate that this needs some investment and it needs thought, but the dividends soon roll in.

“To my mind it is better investing in chilled than putting your money in a building society – I have proved it massively.”
He adds: “Wholesalers will be helping themselves and their customers if they immediately launch a big chill-out campaign promoting the benefits of the chiller.

“Depot managers have access every day to the independent coming into their premises. In addition to a cheery ‘hello’, he should ask the retailer if he is chilling out today,” Sid suggests.

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