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Kepak - merchandising excellence initiative

The challenge


How often have you visited a convenience store and found the experience less than satisfying?  Often there are products you want, but you simply cannot find them, or the range on shelf doesn’t fulfil your needs and you end up walking away empty handed.  With close to 50,000* convenience stores across the UK, serving millions of customers, that’s a lot of disappointed shoppers and even more lost sales.

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It was because of this that the team at Kepak wanted to redress the balance.  They wanted to help the convenience channel meet the needs of their shoppers to help drive incremental sales and increase shopper satisfaction.  A tall order some might say, but a challenge that the Kepak team met head on.


The approach - research


The first step was to commission research to fully understand who the Micro-Snacking and Convenience Foods shopper was, how, why and where they shop, and for what consumption occasions?

This insight then led Kepak to understand exactly where the ideal location for Micro-Snacking was in-store, what categories should be adjacent on-shelf, how should the shelf be merchandised and what the ideal range should be.  All to make the shopping experience quicker, easier and more enjoyable


With the results of the research compiled, they needed to bring the findings alive and support convenience retailers in driving their chilled convenience sales through planograms that delivered against the insight and which suited a number of different store formats.

It was at this stage that Kepak Category Controller, Alex Pickering, contacted Sodalite Creative.

Alex said

“I had worked with the Sodalite team in the past and I knew they had the capability to build a large volume of planograms for a wide variety of store formats quickly and efficiently”.

The Sodalite Creative team spent the next few weeks capturing images and product dimensions to build a number of food-to-go and chilled ready meals planograms at both block and SKU level.

Adrian Lawlor, Kepak Convenience Foods’ Marketing and Business Development Director said

“The insights we’ve gained, coupled with working closely with retailers who have very different store formats, have enabled us to develop detailed Food-To-Go and Chilled Ready Meals planograms, to deliver merchandising excellence on-shelf.”

In store testing

These plans were then tested in store to measure effectiveness before sharing with the trade.  Plans were created for 5 different convenience store formats and the performance was monitored for 9 weeks.

The results were nothing short of phenomenal.  Every test store saw double digit sales growth.  Some of the stores experienced sales gains in excess of 50%!

Communicating to the trade

Kepak approached Sodalite Creative again to create an infographic brochure so that the insight, planograms and store results could be taken to the trade.

The Sodalite Creative team have many years’ experience creating communication documents for retailers and manufacturers alike.

Sodalite Managing Director, Tony Jerodiaconou said

“Infographics are a great way to share information with your customers.  Many agencies forget that clarity is key; it’s not about cramming as much information as possible onto the page. An infographic needs to retain brand identity whilst allowing the reader to absorb pertinent information.” 

Ellen Webster, Kepak Category Manager, said

“We were thrilled with the final brochure, we think it looks great and the team at Sodalite were exceptionally supportive and flexible, providing an excellent looking document which clearly communicated the key facts.”

Once the brochure had been created, the creative was then used in trade media as part of Category Management supplements, features and articles. Titles included Convenience Store magazine, Asian Trader and The Scottish Grocer.

The Kepak trade website was also the perfect portal to communicate to convenience retailers, from independent traders through to the largest symbol groups.


The trade website was a place where the planograms could be viewed and downloaded.  In addition, the website featured retailer testimonials which highlighted the phenomenal store results found when the plans were implemented, creating a compelling rationale for any retailer.

Ultimately, convenience retailers across the UK would have access to the Kepak insight, making it easier for retailers to enhance and optimise their displays.

What next?

To help ensure good compliance in store, the Kepak Sales Team will be helping implement the plans.  For this to be as effective as possible it is imperative that the team is well trained.

This training task fell to the category team.  They were aware that the chiller cabinets were all different shapes and sizes, so they would need to ensure the sales team could adjust the planograms to reflect the space and range available, as well as local shopper demographics such as affluence.

The challenge was how to achieve this?  The team decided they wanted a life-size display they could take to various locations where products on-shelf could be swapped and changed to allow for flexibility.  Jessica Wilson, Category Executive said “We wanted a life size planogram with movable products that we could transport around the country.  We called Tony at Sodalite and he told us how they can take a traditional planogram and turn it into a life-size print with Velcro product.  It was the perfect solution to our problem”.

Ellen Webster said

“We want to ensure this initiative delivers long term sustainable growth that will benefit not just micro snacking but the entire chilled convenience category”

The training will start in October, and once the plans have been implemented, store sales data will be monitored to track performance and understand how the initiative can be evolved to drive further growth.

This approach to growing the chilled convenience sector positions Kepak as thought leaders in chilled convenience and will benefit retailers, manufacturers and shoppers alike.

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