Convenience store retailers are growing wine sales by tapping into the latest trends and merchandising the category for success.
These days alternative packaging is all the rage with customers reaching for cans of wine and boxed wine. Savvy c-stores are updating their wine selections to include both options.
In October, Wawa stores in Florida began stocking a canned wine called Coastal Spritz in 12-ounce cans and half a dozen flavors, including Pineapple Rosé Spritz, Watermelon Rosé Spritz, Classic Rosé Spritz, Sauvignon Blanc Spritz, Pinot Noir Spritz and Oaked Chardonnay Spritz.
Savannah, Ga.-based Parker’s, Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s General Stores Inc., and Irving, Texas-based 7‑Eleven Inc. were among the c-store chains that beefed up their wine offerings in 2021 to appeal to changing customer preferences.
Boxed wine, adopted by some c-stores nearly four decades ago, was once regarded as low quality, but today it has shed that stigma and is now growing in popularity. One reason is that cans and boxes are both preferred to bottles by summertime shoppers on their way to a pool or boat. Another is that Americans like that the boxes are sustainable and environmentally friendly. The same is true for recyclable Tetra Paks made of paperboard, polyethylene and aluminum.
Selling more wine begins with keeping track of the profusion of canned and boxed wines hitting the market. Be careful to manage the wine set with an eye toward price in order to give consumers two opportunities to buy: one price level for home consumption, another to take along to get-togethers.
Wine Display Success
Putting stackings front and center to highlight grab-and-go convenience is another good strategy.
Giving store employees a bit of education on the wines being carried can help when customers ask for recommendations, to combat the residual stigma in some consumers’ minds. It can also help them with suggestive selling at the register.
Whether your store should position itself as a wine destination or simply shoot for impulse sales will hinge on the local market and management’s knowledge of its customer base.
Floor stacking and displays, together with cold offerings in the cooler, should cover the bases. Promotional offerings, including limited-time deals, work as well for wine as they do for other categories.