Retail

Hungry for More Profits? Try Selling Snacks

Cure your customers’ hunger while biting into this billion-dollar market.
Photo Credit: GoFarUSA

Author: Jackie Holbrook

Signage, displays and strategic positioning are great for urging customers to make impulse buys. But there’s one factor you can’t control in impulse buying: hunger.

Snacks are an easy sell and may keep your customers in your shop longer. Photo Credit: CNBC

Food is the strongest impulse buy for most shoppers. A recent study revealed 71 percent of impulse purchases are food-related. The study said the average person spends up to $5,400 annually on unplanned purchases. Given that most impulse buys involve food, you should consider selling various snack options in your archery shop.

Those sales work for David Stoddard, owner of Full Curl Archery Shop in Anchorage, Alaska. “We sell all kinds of stuff,” Stoddard said. “Soda, water, sports drinks, lemonade, potato chips, all kinds of candy, and more.”

Stoddard stocks all that food and beverages by the shop’s cash register, which is where most people make impulse buys. As customers wait at the register, they’ve already made at least one purchase, so adding something else isn’t a hassle. Try setting up a small snack display at your register.

Stoddard also sells lots of food and drink to customers using his archery range. “On league nights we have big sales,” he said. “A soda company drops off drinks once a week, and I buy bulk snacks at Costco.”

Make sure the snacks are portable. Photo Credit: Technomic's Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report

If you plan to stock up on snacks, select grab-and-go items. According to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend report, 60 percent of consumers like that option. They want snacks they can stuff into their pockets or throw into a bag or purse. After all, snacks often replace meals for those with busy schedules and hectic lifestyles.

Jamie Fuller, manager of Mike’s Bow Shop in Salem, Iowa, said snacks let his customers slow down. “Selling food and drinks helps people enjoy some camaraderie in the shop,” Fuller said. “It gives the shop a coffee-shop feel, and gets people talking. They start talking about our products, and sometimes that leads to people making a purchase.”

As some customers come in, make purchases and leave with snacks, others on your range are spending considerable time in your shop. They often get hungry or thirsty as they shoot. If possible, display your snacks and drinks in their line of sight. Those offerings can encourage them to stay longer on the range. “We use a refrigerator that’s on an honor system,” Fuller said. “I find 99.9 percent of bowhunters are honest. I’ve had people leave the shop without paying, and drive 3 or 4 miles back to pay for their pop.”

Sweet treats are a staple, but savory is on the rise. Photo Credit: CSP Daily News

Sweet treats like candy and salty snacks like chips top the list of best-selling snacks. However, Technomic reported almost half of consumers buy healthy snack options from convenience stores, including grab-and-go yogurt, hummus, fruit and veggie cups. So, serve a variety of snacks, and stock up on water, soda and coffee.

“People let me know when we’re running low on their favorite soda,” Stoddard said. “We make a profit off food and drinks, but it’s more about offering convenience to our customers.”

“During slow months, we make quite a bit on concession stuff,” Fuller continued. “We make more than somebody would think. (Whether they’re) waiting for the bow technician or especially after shoots, people enjoy drinking something while waiting and talking.”

Snacks might even become a vital part of your shop’s bottom line. The snack industry is expected to top $138 billion by 2020. By making the right selections and strategic placements, you can ensure your shop bites into this profitable industry.

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