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30 May 2023

Five ways speciality retailers can prepare for summer success 

Five ways speciality retailers can prepare for summer success 
Image: Nathan J Hilton

Summer is well and truly here (or at least the sun is shining outside Speciality & Fine Food Fair HQ) and we’re back with some top tips for speciality & fine food retailers to make the most of the sunny season.  

As consumers enjoy warmer weather and longer days, they’re seeking new, exciting, fresh and vibrant products and flavours to complement their summer activities. This is a huge opportunity for retailers to carefully curate product offering and find innovative ways to appeal to customers.  

Here are some of our top tips for increasing your appeal and offering to consumers, and increasing that all important basket spend. 

Embrace seasonality 

Already a must for many retailers, stocking delicious seasonal produce is a fantastic way to entice customers into your store and excite them with your product range. Whether it’s produce from quality suppliers in the UK or more exotic flavours from international partners, a colourful selection of seasonal products is guaranteed get customers excited in the summer months.  

Diversify your drinks 

Thirst-quenching beverages are a must on a hot summer day, and consumers are more adventurous than ever when it comes to sampling new drinks and flavour combinations. Whether it’s ice teas, fruit infused waters, functional drinks or ice-cold coffees, there are a cornucopia of choices for speciality retailers.  

On the alcohol side, businesses like Kocktail are on hand with beautifully fresh, premium, bar-quality cocktails for your customers to enjoy. We’d also recommend Blood Monkey Irish Craft Gin, a strikingly designed gin from Outcast Brands characterised by a smooth, warm citrus spice and a slight hint of floral entwined with smoky, caramel flavours of whiskey. 

Snacks on the go 

With longer days and numerous outdoor activities to enjoy, summer is certainly picnic season, and with this comes a fantastic opportunity for retailers to upsell certain products or create bespoke selections for customers.  

Appeal to your summer customers with curated picnic hampers or snack selections. This could encompass gourmet sandwiches and pre-packed salads, delicious ice-cold drinks, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie options or even something more creative.  

For a decadent accompaniment to charcuterie boards and cheese selections, why not stock white truffle oil or ultimate truffle mayo from the Truffle Guys. For quality cured meats, hand cured in small batches in the UK from British livestock, check out Bray Cured.  

Consumers rely on speciality retailers to introduce them to new products and flavour profiles, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to curating your summer picnic selections.   

Healthy and light 

Summer is a time of year where many consumers are seeking out healthier and lighter food & drink choices, and this is a great time to highlight these options in your shop. Considering incorporating low sugar and low-fat alternatives of your staples, and stock up on vibrant salads, plant-based protein alternatives (particularly for BBQ favourites).  

Providing customers with a range of nutritious and satisfying options will not only cater to their preferences but also foster loyalty towards your store. For a refreshing accompaniment to your customers’ light summer salads, we’d suggest a single-estate-bottled extra virgin olive oil from The Oil Merchant

Enhance your in-store experience 

Think about the customer experience on entering your shop: what do they see, smell and experience, and what are they likely in need of? Use the start of the summer season to think about your layout and the products that most appeal to consumers in the hot weather.  

Considering collaborating with your suppliers to provide free sampling and a more immersive in-store experience and if you have the space and facilities cooking demonstrations and interactive workshops are a great way to engage with the local community and further establish your points of difference with mainstream retail rivals.  

Plus, educating your customer on the products you have in store and allowing suppliers to grow the product knowledge of your in-store team, is a great way to increase your basket spend and knowledgably upsell to customers with varying tastes.  

Eager to discover new and innovative food & drink products for your shop or deli? Speciality & Fine Food Fair returns to Olympia London on 11-12 September to showcase hundreds quality artisan food & drink brands, including a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and the latest up-and-coming startups in the all-new Start-Up Village.  

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