Merchandise your way to a merry Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time for convenience retailers to draw up their festive merchandising plans. So, what should c-store operators be doing to ensure they make the most of the busiest time of the year for both the convenience retail sector and soft drinks?

Reading time: 7 minutes

Soft drinks can play a key role in making the season to be even merrier (and busier) for c-store operators. After all, one third of the UK’s convenience retailers say soft drinks are their biggest sales drivers and research shows they are the number one reason people enter c-stores.[1] With more people likely to be celebrating this year’s festivities at home and greater numbers moderating their alcohol, the growth looks set to continue.

This means that getting soft drinks ranging right (both in terms of products and formats) is key for attracting people into stores. It’s also important that shoppers can find what they need (and what they didn’t know they needed until they saw it) easily once they’re inside stores.

Making sure merchandising is on point will support convenience retailers in capitalising on the coming festivities and unlock further growth in soft drinks. So, here are Britvic’s top tips for how retailers can merchandise their way to a very Merry Christmas in 2023…

Maximise visibility

When shoppers are on a mission for specific products, out of sight can mean out of mind in terms of extra items that aren’t on the shopping list. Making sure festive bestsellers are easy to find in the build-up to Christmas can help drive impulse sales and increase basket size.

Ensure carbonated soft drinks such as Pepsi MAX®, 7UP Zero and Tango, mixers from Britvic and London Essence Company and adult-orientated drinks brands such as J2O are in prominent positions in formats suited for get-togethers, such as two-litre bottles and multipacks.

Champion Festive Specials

With more opportunities to entertain and indulge, many shoppers feel more adventurous at Christmas. Bolster your ranges with premium lines such as London Essence Company Sodas to capitalise on this and stock limited edition festive specials which people will be on the hunt for specifically at this time of year such as J20 Glitterberry.

Make the most of aisle ends

It’s worth remembering that 27% of soft drinks bought to be taken home (as opposed to those purchased to enjoy on-the-go) from c-stores are picked up on impulse. That’s where prime, high-footfall spots in store come into play. And few places have higher footfall than aisle ends.

Consider stocking multi-serve formats and multipacks of staples such as Pepsi MAX® and 7UP Zero to inspire impulse sales. Displaying a wider range of flavours – such as Pepsi MAX® Lime, Mango and Cherry – on aisle ends can also pay big by piquing consumer interest and encouraging trial purchases.

Think beyond Christmas

The end of the year isn’t just about Christmas, of course. There’s also New Year’s Eve, which is a key opportunity to drive soft drinks and mixer sales. Depending on your local neighbourhood, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah (7th-15th December 2023) can also be a lucrative opportunity.

Consider additional displays with specific promotions and point of sale material to drive festive sales. Think carefully about the formats you stock in these displays: we suggest focusing on multipacks in the run up to key festivals before shifting to multi-serve formats to cater for top-up shops.

Offer great value for money

Shopper perceptions of the value for money retailers offer are always important. More so now. Earlier this year, the cost-of-living crisis was named as the number-one concern for 60% of people living in the UK. Promotions can help improve shopper perceptions of the value you offer in your store.

Communicating promotions effectively throughout store and offering compelling cross category deals can deliver big rewards. Where possible, display soft drinks alongside complementary categories – for example, Pepsi MAX® with bagged snacks, London Essence Company mixers with spirits and J2O with savoury sharers – to help them celebrate in style.

For more guidance on how to maximise your soft drinks sales this Christmas and beyond, read the 2023 Britvic Soft Drinks Review here.


[1] Lumina Intelligence Retailer Attitudes and Behaviours Study – July 2023

[2]All statistics cited in this article are from the 2023 Britvic Soft Drinks Review, unless otherwise stated.