The NACS Show’s Most Popular Cool New Products
The top new items viewed by retailers at the NACS Show include:
The 2009 NACS Show in Las Vegas featured a Cool New Products preview room to give retailers a peak at what merchandise and services are on the horizon for convenience stores in the upcoming year.
The exhibit featured products across all key categories including new concepts and packaging exclusive to the c-store channel, store equipment and technology, relaxation and energy drinks and shots, as well as heath and wellness products, which were a strong trend throughout the exhibit. Show attendees enjoyed exclusive access to the section during the first three days of the show.
Retailers received a scanner upon entering the room and could scan the bar code assigned to each product to receive a print out with detailed information on every item they scanned.
The products preview room featured a number of energy options.Lotus Energy Drink, Shogun Energy, Force Energy Shot, Bazu Energy and even Love Shot,which provides both energy and male enhancement, where among those showcased.
Woody Stelnicki, petroleum operation director, of Calgary Co-op, which is made up of 27 stores in Canada, noted the large number of energy products and also relaxation beverages—”the uppers and the downers”—as he put it, caught his attention. Consumer demand for stress-relief and increased stamina continues to drive new introductions to the category.
To D. Bailey Lyden, general manager of merchandise for Toledo, Ohio-based TrueNorth convenience stores, the Lottery Ticket/Gift Card Display by Take-A-Ticket Inc. stood out.
“It takes up less counter space and adds something new to a category that needs revitalization. I think lottery can be more of an impulse item than it is,” Lyden said, adding that the display was big enough to get the attention of customers at the register and possibly drive impulse sales. Lyden wasn’t alone. The lottery ticket display made the most scanned items every day of the show.
Lyden said he was also on the outlook for health-oriented products as he toured the Cool New Products showcase. “Like this one,” he said, as he scanned the barcode for a V8-Fusion drink.
Highlighting cleanliness, Russ Workman of Hill Top Travel Centers in Alma Ark., noticed the unique Urine Off bathroom cleaner as he walked through the exhibit. “Cleaning restrooms is always a challenge,” he said. Wine Off and Coffee Off were also part of the display—all meant to help customers and retailers clean up hard-to-remove spills.
Workman also was considering the various brands of electronic cigarettes in the room. While his stores already carry e-cigarettes, he was interested in examining the different varieties available. Indeed, like-minded retailers helped both Premium Electronic Cigarette by Premium E Store LLC and Revolution Electronic Cigarette by Revolution Inc. score a place among the most scanned items.
The No. 1 scanned product of the Cool New Products display was Disney Foodles and Crunch Pak Sliced Apples which fit two large industry trends—grab-and-go and better-for-you foods. This was especially popular because many chains are ramping up their fresh fruit options as they reach out to the female demographic. As Ira Blumenthal, managing director of NACS Café and president Co-opportunities Inc., noted in his session on Foodservice Fundamentals, 50% of moms rarely have time to sit down for a meal, and 80% of drive-through eaters are time-crunched, making healthful on-the-go options in high demand. “Mom and dad are both working, no longer is this about Bubba,” he said.
Other notable products included Hershey’s Drops by The Hershey Co., which have no wrapper and no candy shell—just a light, shiny finish to protect the product so there is no mess. Also in the candy section, Mentos was debuting a new rainbow roll with seven flavors and multicolored packaging.
REtail Technology ON DISPLAY
On the technology end, The Pinnacle Corp. was displaying its Symphony.dispatcher workstation with real-time fuel inventory information in a graphical exception based format. At a glance, dispatchers or fuel buyers responsible for replenishment, load scheduling, delivery and multiple location fuel monitoring benefit by knowing which sites require attention. Pinnacle’s Business Intelligence collects and analyzes real-time POS transaction and operations data, providing trends and exceptions reporting in many formats.
A new product called eKwipper uses smart phone technology to pull gas customers into the store with offers and coupons—a timely product as more retailers are becoming intrigued by mobile technology as a way to reach customers.
Also, attracting attention in the exhibit was BP Pro Beer Pong Products, which contains everything customers need for a game of beer pong in one package.