We recently attended the HIM Future of Convenience 2019 event and spent a fascinating day immersed in the exciting and ever-changing world of convenience retail. We heard from an array of speakers from retailers, suppliers and industry experts.

Here are 5 key take-outs that will be shaping the convenience sector in the coming year and informing the way in which we conceive and activate retail campaigns on behalf of our clients.

1. Plastic Reduction – a Win-Win-Win

With HIM revealing that 53% of shoppers try to avoid buying products with a lot of plastic packaging when food shopping (HIM Omichannel Tracker August 2018) it’s unsurprising that taking steps to help shoppers reduce their plastic consumption is a top priority for retailers and suppliers. As HIM were quick to point out, focusing marketing efforts on plastic reduction creates a win-win-win situation for consumers, brands and the planet. As an agency this is something we support wholeheartedly, and we will be helping our clients to act upon it.

2. Responsible Retail Partnerships

Convenience retailers are critically important to their local communities and stores which continue to support their local communities and exhibit responsible retailing with thrive. Responsible and authentic brands can also help convenience retailers by supporting them with local events, sponsorships and adding value in the community. Our experience in forging partnerships and marketing initiatives between brands and retailers will become increasingly important throughout 2019.

3. Healthy Sales

The health trend isn’t new, but it’s very big business indeed. HIM reports that the average shopper would be willing to spend £1.44 on a single snack, but a health snacking shopper would be willing to spend £1.84. It’s an opportunity that convenience retailers are well placed to capitalise on especially with many exciting new brands and categories like CBD emerging all the time. However, as the ACS pointed out future legislation on health such as banning sweets from the till-point could have also a big impact on convenience store, so help will be needed to help them navigate their way through. We’re delighted to be working with a growing number of healthier challenger brands including ManiLife, Savsé and Rejuvenation Water.

4. Core vs. Specialist

Balancing core range and more specialist products is key to satisfying the needs of convenience shoppers. Retailers need to give shoppers reasons to visit stores by creating uniqueness and identifying opportunities. As HIM has revealed core range has proven to work historically, but there is certainly room for challenger brands that can offer new product choices that are different and on-trend. The work we do with brands both big and small, established and challenger means we are extremely well placed to help brands and retailers unlock the opportunities from both core range and more specialist lines.

5. Social Media Shopping

With 88% of the population using some form of social media and over half of UK consumers aware that you can buy items through social media, the opportunity for the convenience sector is significant. 36% of shoppers are open to purchase products through social media so expect to see convenience retailers using social media shopping tools as part of the social media accounts in order to help shoppers add items to virtual baskets and then pick them up in store. HIM refer to social media shopping as the intersection between social media and e-commerce, for us as an integrated agency that has specialist digital and social teams, we have the expertise to help brands unlock and leverage the power of social media shopping.

The future of convenience looks very bright indeed and thanks to all the team at HIM for putting on another fantastic and hugely insightful event.