Four Best Practices to Craft the Ideal HBC Section

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Four Best Practices to Craft the Ideal HBC Section

By Renée M. Covino, Convenience Store News - 02/06/2019

NATIONAL REPORT — Good things come in small packages and perhaps nowhere is this more accurate in a convenience store than in the health and beauty care (HBC) category — a smaller but critical category for sales, profit and delivering that “convenience” factor.  

To craft the ideal HBC section, industry experts and analysts offer up these tips:

1. Concentrate on Convenience

This may seem obvious, but it’s really the backbone of HBC category success in the convenience channel. “Convenience is the driving force, and greatest opportunity, for health and beauty brands in c-stores,” Rulynn Hansen, senior account director for Epsilon marketing agency, told Convenience Store News.

2. Keep It Small

This is another obvious practice, but just as crucial as the convenience aspect. In a c-store, space is at a premium and shopper patience is at a minimum.

“Shoppers want to be in and out of the store quickly, so brands that deliver on product assortment in smaller package sizes and low-entry price points are more likely to win,” Hansen advised.

3. Choose Brands Wisely

Based on retail channel research, Convenience Valet, which distributes trial- and travel-size consumer products, found that 68 percent of consumers shopping for HBC will leave a store if their brand is not available there. HBC shoppers have an immediate need and often a specific brand in mind to fill their need.

Don Stuart, managing partner at Cadent Consulting Group, recommends the following four guidelines when it comes to HBC category brands:

  • Carry the top one or two brands;
  • Stock a minimal size variety, which typically means a “convenience-oriented” size (this translates into small or midsize);
  • Carry the most popular variant or sub-brands in terms of benefits; and
  • Stock a minimal flavor/fragrance or strength variety.

4. Do a True Category Analysis

Knowing HBC can be a tricky category to manage, suppliers and distributors of HBC products are ready, willing and able to help c-store retailers evaluate and optimize their offering.

For instance, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based S. Abraham & Sons (SAS), a convenience distributor to retailers in eight states throughout the Midwest, helps its customers utilize their point-of-sale (POS) scan data, pairing it with store layouts and planograms.

Convenience Valet likewise works with retailers to assess their current category performance, understand and/or help define strategic objectives, and provide category tactics to support those objectives. The company will generate detailed planograms to ensure proper implementation and then review the performance of the category on a six-month and annual basis.

Click below to download our full report, “The Intricacies of HBC.”