Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Power play

01 December, 2003
The battery market is charging ahead. Make sure you don't get left behind - particularly in the festive break
Page 40 
If someone were to ask you if you knew the difference between an AA and an AAA battery I’m sure you’d answer ‘yes’. That’s because you sell them and it’s your job to know such things. However, for many consumers batteries are confusing – they all look very similar but can do very different things. And they’re not exactly a product consumers really want to know much about, because they’re a means to an end. They’re just the part that keeps the remote control working or the radio playing.
Research has found that confusion can be a real barrier to consumers buying batteries. In-depth research into battery purchasing by Duracell found that 21.3 per cent of consumers plan to buy but do not buy batteries because of lack of visibility and confusion at the fixture.Of course in most forecourts batteries, because of their high cash value, are displayed behind the till. This means that any confusion on the part of the consumer is often coupled with embarrassment as they hop from foot to foot ‘umming and aahing’ about which batteries they really need. However, Duracell has the answer – it has colour-coded its battery range and point of sale material to help the consumer. Colour-coding also extends to the batteries themselves so replacement is much easier.The five main battery types each have a different coloured bottom: AA has yellow; AAA has green; C has red; D has purple; and 9v has blue.The colour-coding has been communicated to consumers via TV advertising using the Duracell bunny. Five bunnies sport different coloured tails to correspond to the new colours on the batteries.The colour-coding is bound to come into its own now as over one third of all batteries are sold in the last three months of the year.Tim Clark, marketing and communications manager at Panasonic says that at this time of year it’s imperative that forecourts are in stock of the five key battery sizes (AA, AAA, C, D and 9V) and if possible they should have secondary siting in store to encourage sales.“Batteries are either an impulse or a distress purchase – consumers don’t actually put them on their shopping list,” he says. “Displays behind the till mean consumers can’t pick the batteries up and have a look at them. They have to ask for them and can get embarrassed about looking silly in front of the shop staff so if possible it’s best to have an additional siting where customers can see them.”NOT PRICE SENSITIVEClark reckons that batteries are not particularly price sensitive because people don’t know how much they cost. “Consumers only buy them three or four times a year and often can’t remember how much they paid for them the last time round.”He says they offer retailers a high profit margin from a limited space. Typically margins are 40 per cent upwards. Duracell is not the only company to have looked at its packaging to benefit consumers. Panasonic has changed its battery packs, with the aim of making them easier to pick off the shelf, easier to open and easier to store at home.There is a new blister-card shape with indentations on the side, making the packs easier to grip. The back of the blister has a perforation strip for easier opening and packs have been designed so you can remove two batteries from a four-pack and leave the remaining two inside so you know which batteries are fully-charged and which are not.Panasonic is also running a heavyweight advertising campaign for its PowerMax3 and PowerDigital batteries. The campaign takes a light-hearted look at the importance of having a battery that still has power when you most need it – like when the Lock Ness monster appears in front of your camera lens. There are three different creatives with the straplines ‘When your camera’s got to click’, for PowerDigital batteries, and ‘Warning: Lasts longer than expected’, for PowerMax3 batteries. The consumer press campaign covers gadget, music, lifestyle, gaming and photography titles while the outdoor advertising is running across the country in nine major cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow and Dublin. Billboards, buses and phone boxes will all be used in high traffic areas.SALES BOOSTEnergizer’s latest packaging development has been specially created to help independent retailers sell more batteries. Its new counter box allows the retailer to position product on the counter top toprompt purchase.Each counter-top display unit holds seven packs of Energizer Ultra+ AA 4 + 2 free batteries and sports details of the brand’s Text to Win’ promotion. Counter boxes are available supplied with a box of 24 packs of replenishment stock, or with two counter boxes shrink-wrapped together.HOLIDAY PROMOTIONThe Text to Win promotion gives consumers the chance to win a flight on a private executive jet to St Tropez with five friends for a week’s holiday in a private villa. Twenty five runners-up will each receive a Siemens MC60 mobile phone with integrated camera.Paul Harvey, marketing manager at Energizer, explains: “We really wanted to work with the independent trade at this lucrative time of year, so we carried out some research among key independent customers, which led us to develop the counter box aimed at capitalising on the Christmas market.“We then decided to add even more incentive by making the focus of the display unit our Text to Win promotion, bringing this exciting promotion to the independents as well as the multiples.”Finally, Energizer’s Ultra+ battery is backed by an ad campaign using the strapline ‘Are you power mad?’. Paul Harvey, marketing manager at Energizer says: “We have invested well over £1m into this campaign in order to give consumers a reason to buy into the Energizer brand and to support the retailers by driving sales.“The strategic approach is humorous to catch the eye and inject fun into a sector that can be quite dull. But every household uses batteries – it’s a very lucrative sale for retailers. The total UK battery market is worth £200m a year, and a high proportion is through impulse outlets.”



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Weekly retail fuel prices: 15 January 2018
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East124.9460.90131.85122.27
East Midlands124.34132.31121.54
London125.0662.90132.42122.10
North East123.94133.63121.07
North West124.1658.50132.51121.18
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Wales124.44128.57121.19
West Midlands123.7465.23132.27121.20
Yorkshire & Humber123.9161.90132.74121.12

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