Despite when they might be made, coffee, tea, wine and beer are all
available whenever we want them. The same is true, of course, with sodas
and any kind of flavored water. Beverages are the id of the food business
– we want them when we want them and we can usually get them.
Nevertheless, when the weather turns cooler and the leaves begin to
color and then to fall, we naturally gravitate toward darker wines, heartier
ales, spiced-up coffee and tea, and warmer drinks in general. Flavors of
pumpkin and spice, chai, hot cider and cocoa, and just about anything
topped with whipped cream are more appealing in the fall and winter just
as lemonade, iced tea, cold beer, and gin & tonics prevail in the summer.
The question for retailers is, do we merchandise these kinds of beverages
because customers want them, or do customers want them because we
are merchandising them? Chicken or the egg? In the end, it’s probably
a little of both but strong seasonal beverage merchandising is bound to
make a difference, so why not pull out all the stops and make your store
a destination for festive, warm, seasonal beverages? You can warm your
customers’ tummies and your bottom line at the same time.
Walk into Starbucks, Peets Coffee & Tea or most any other large beverage
franchise and you are sure to see signage touting a variety of lushly
flavored, spiced, and highly caloric seasonal drinks. Of course, the big
outfits have these kind of merchandising schemes worked out well in
advance. Like the food magazines that are shooting Thanksgiving dinners
in July, chain coffeehouses are planning their seasonal brews long before
the weather even hints at becoming cooler. It’s a lesson we could all
take from them. Many retailers plan out their holiday merchandise and
decorations in the first half of the year, placing orders for both to ensure
they get everything in time so when fourth-quarter business begins to
kick in they don’t have to worry about it. The same should be true of
Unlike food, we don’t always think of
beverages in terms of seasonality.