Banishing the winter blues Keeping shoppers happy starts with a Big Night In

Welcome to the January issue of The Grocery Trader. Christmas is over, so let’s get down to business – and what’s better for stimulating impulse purchases than a Big Night In?
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Shoppers are bound to feel low at this time of year. January comes after the long Christmas and New Year break, and there isn’t a Bank Holiday in sight until Easter.

January is when all the bills have to be paid, just after you’ve had to fork out for Christmas presents, food and drinks. And panto tickets too. Oh yes it is…

The medical name for the winter blues is seasonal affective disorder, or SAD for short. The theory is, it’s caused by a lack of sunshine. Relatively few punters can afford the cash or time of work for a winter holiday, but they can all manage a big night in now and then. And even if consumers are stuck all day at a desk, or rush around in trains or in cars, one proven prescription a local multiple grocer can fill in any weather is a Big Night In.

A key part of the Big Night In scenario is snacking. In the words of Hena Chandarana at pladis, evening snacking has become hugely popular in recent years with the squeeze on household budgets. Staying in for the night has become the go-to option to keep costs down. As Hena points out, the rise of the ‘Big Night In’ has been mirrored by the rise in popularity of high-quality home entertainment services, as well as on-demand film and TV subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Stay up all night and do it for charidee! Many major charities have also started to latch on to the ‘big night in’ as a fun fundraising event. While we think of it, make a date in your diary now for Red Nose Day 2017 on Friday 24th March.

Various big name brands get involved with RND and we’ll be running the stories before long… When it comes to a big night in, people are often time sensitive, says Stuart Meikle, Channel Director of Kepak Convenience Foods. They want food and drink that can be prepared and served quickly and conveniently, but they’re not prepared to compromise on taste or quality. That’s where microsnacks such as market-leading Rustlers come into their own.

Finally, for retailers who really want to make the most of all this, pladis’ guidance is to see the ‘big night in’ as an occasion that continues to be shaped by wider category trends, and ensure tstores reflect these in the products they stock and price formats they offer. As the pressure on pricing remains, consumers’ savvy shopping behaviour means they will expect to see a continued focus on price cuts and multi-buys for snacking products, allowing them to manage their weekly shop and still purchase their household favourites.