As shoppers around Australia look forward to Easter, the convenience channel is also gearing up for a busy period.
During periods such as Easter convenience stores offer a vital service and are an integral part of peoples’ holidays, with extended trading hours and convenient access to everything from basic grocery staples, to food on the go and celebratory items. It’s an important role to play when other shops are not trading over the long weekend.
Jeff Rogut, CEO of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) told C&I Week convenience retailers need to be well prepared in the lead up to the long weekend.
“It’s a time when stores may get new customers that they made not have had before, so it’s absolutely imperative to make sure that they’re stocking all the right products. It’s also important stores are well in stock and have products people would need over an extended holiday period such as ice,” Mr Rogut said.
Shopping for Easter, unlike Christmas, generally takes place in a shorter period of time, with the bulk of Easter related purchases taking place in the fortnight prior to Good Friday according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).
ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman, said that although supermarkets begin to push the sale of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns from New Year, the majority of sales do not occur until much closer to Easter.
“Spending on gifts and entertaining for Easter really begins to ramp up from now on, with a peak in Easter-related spending expected in the five days prior, from March 20 to 24,” said Mr Zimmerman.
“Hot selling items will of course be chocolate and sweets, hot cross buns, and seafood, and we’ll also see a general spike in sales of food and beverages as consumers make purchases for Easter celebrations with family and friends.”
Mr Zimmerman said that “As [many] stores are unable to trade by law on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, shoppers will be stocking up on all the necessities to tide them over for those days when they aren’t able to get to the shops.”
With many stores closed, convenience is ready to bridge the gap and Mr Rogut advises store staff need to provide a high level of customer service so that first time customers will return.
“Convenience stores really need to take care of their customers at this time of year. It’s a terrific time of year for our businesses and a good time to capitalise on the additional traffic.”
However, Mr Rogut also cautioned that security is also an issue in convenience particularly during busy times.
“Retailers need to ensure they’re not holding too much cash, and petrol retailers need to be wary of busy times on the forecourt as security is always an issue for our businesses.”
Many convenience stores offer the opportunity to purchase something fun as an Easter treat or use Easter as an opportunity to create additional community engagement.
In the lead up to Easter, 7-Eleven have been raising funds for children’s hospitals through counter top collection tins. On Good Friday this fund raising effort culminates in the chain’s ‘Name Your Price Day‘, which raised more than $150,000 for children’s hospitals last year.
7-Eleven’s Easter Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which are available in gift boxes or as single Easter Bunny and Easter Nest Doughnuts, are also becoming something of an Easter tradition, with the promotion currently running throughout the its network.
At SPAR stores across Australia, Easter is one of the peak trading times and SPAR’s Easter competition is promoted throughout the SPAR Express, 5 Star Handimart and SPAR supermarket stores.
Individual stores also create their own activities, such as baking hot cross buns and engage in community events to celebrate Easter.