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

Money spinners

Who knew that so many people wanted a car boot organiser or a large pet blanket or a car dash cam? Even though that's a bit of a rhetorical question, there is an answer and that is 'the pump-top promotion companies'. That's because these businesses have their fingers on the pulse of today's consumers' wants and needs. They're on the look out for the latest thing. Think Fidget Spinners whoever knew we needed such things? The answer to that is Asif Ayub, managing director at FastTrak, who says: "We introduced Fidget Spinners in April and they are our best seller this year; they've even eclipsed Loom Bands as a trend. We are still selling them and they are a steady seller but we are bringing out an icon version to coincide with the Emoji movie release and doing metal spinners throughout the summer."

At DSL, they are busy expanding their range of scented air fresheners Scentsation with more flavours and licensed products; and their InTech range, which was revamped earlier in the year, will continue to expand.

At Spot Promotions, the big sellers so far this year have been air loungers, solar fence lights and Bluetooth speakers.

The beauty about such items is that they are usually provided risk free ie sale or return, are fully merchandised by the supplier and deliver high profit margins and all those profits are incremental as these truly are impulse purchases.

David Greggor, sales director at DSL, says: "Although the model of offering risk-free profits to forecourt retailers hasn't changed significantly over the past 20 years or so, the marketplace has, and is now driven by demand for value from spontaneous, but savvy, consumers. Arguably the biggest change the sector has seen in recent years has been down to the boom in mobile and smart technology. And while consumers do not usually buy a new smartphone, tablet or other tech from the forecourt, they will buy their accessories for it, especially if they are great quality, reliable and competitively-priced.

"Branded products is another growth area for the sector, particularly if the products are tied in with the latest blockbuster movie or hottest kids' TV show, for which we hold several licence agreements."

Greggor says that today DSL is the market leader, supplying more major oil companies and independent petrol retailers across the UK and Ireland with pump-top promotions than anyone else. "We became the biggest by being the best at what we do, offering high-quality products from major brands, backed with expert, evidence-based insight and advice about consumer behaviour, outstanding customer service and a no-quibble 'sale or return' guarantee on all the promotions we supply, which means our retail partners can't lose."

He says that thanks to more than 30 years' experience in the forecourt promotions sector, DSL knows exactly what price the market will stand for on its promotions, which he believes gives his retail partners the edge in a competitive marketplace.

"We also understand consumer buying behaviour and work with all our trade partners to share evidence-based insight which helps maximise revenue from all our promotions."

Spot Promotions is another company with many years experience in the forecourt and convenience store trade.

Owners Asiffa and Shiraz Gadatra source and supply a wide range of innovative products, including air fresheners, gifts, home essentials, licensed products, lights, lamps, lollipops and mobile accessories.

The couple are also owners of the popular and growing Object gadget brand.

Says Asiffa: "We are passionate about building excellent relationships with our trading partners, analysing sales and carrying out market research to ensure that each and every customer is looked after and every opportunity is optimised."

Over at FastTrak, Ayub says: "Our ethos is no longer to rely on one or two products a month but instead to bring six-to-eight promotions so we offer a variety plus we keep our stronger products in stock."

Baz Patel, group operations manager at Refuel & Go, is one of Asif's very satisfied customers.

"We have FastTrak promotions at all of our eight sites. They offer a really good service. Their merchandisers visit every few weeks with new products and to change the pump-top pos."

No-brainer

At the moment, Baz says it's the fidget spinners that are the big sellers as well as the cooling gel pillow. "The products are always very good and it's a no-brainer to stock them because if they don't sell you can send them back and get credit on your account, but to be honest that very rarely happens. You can choose the stock you take but we usually go on FastTrak's recommendations. And, if something is selling really well, we can phone the sales team and order more. If we put an order in before 1pm we get it delivered the next day." Baz says using the pos that goes with the promotions is crucial. "The Flava car scents had been selling well for us when they were in-store but when we put the pos for them out on the pumps, we tripled sales. The advertising definitely works."

Ayub confirms this, saying that pump-top promotions are all about incremental revenue so their position and space given to them is vital.


Top tips from Spot Promotions

Know what your top sellers are. It sounds obvious but make sure you know what your top sellers are and the profit you make on each sale. Then ensure those top sellers are merchandised in the right way so that they are visible.
Get expert merchandising help. If you're not sure how best to merchandise certain products then speak to the supplier and ask them. Members of the Object team are experts in each product range, and share their knowledge. They work with customers to make sure the right planogram is used in the right store.
Embrace technology it's not going to go away! The most commonly used phone accessories include chargers and cables, headphones, portable cases, power banks and portable speakers these items are becoming commonplace in convenience stores and forecourts. Check out the Object brand which has a wide range of mobile accessories.
Innovate successful retailers are innovative and actively look for interesting products that help drive extra sales. Many impulse purchases often come in the form of a gift or gadget that is now available at an affordable price, that perhaps consumers weren't thinking of buying but saw and purchased on impulse.
Be consistent and you will retain loyal customers. If a loyal customer comes into your store to purchase a torch or mobile phone charger and you are out of stock, they are likely to go elsewhere. You then run the risk of losing their trade.


RETAILER VIEW

"We have pump-top promotions at three of our 10 sites.
"The other seven sites are Shell and, under their brand standards programme, they mark you down if you have pump-top promotions.
"Where we have them on our BP and Esso sites they do really well for us.
"The offers change every four weeks and weeks one and two are always the very best for sales; they tend to die off a bit in weeks three and four depending on the promotion. This year, because of the good summer we've had, we've done really well with sales of sunglasses.
"We also have a display of the promotional products in-store and this helps with impulse buys because if someone has missed the promotion at the pump, they see it in-store and think 'I'll have that'."

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 20 November 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East123.5862.15130.21121.10
East Midlands123.21131.97120.77
London123.5556.90131.47121.21
North East122.7764.90132.16120.46
North West123.1057.80131.29120.64
Northern Ireland121.8564.20125.57120.27
Scotland123.3352.20129.79120.83
South East123.79131.06121.50
South West123.42130.49121.01
Wales123.15129.94120.50
West Midlands122.8761.90132.62120.73
Yorkshire & Humber122.9956.90131.53120.82

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