How Occasion-Based Consumption Can Boost Beverage Sales

People love traditions—whether it's Opening Day, a special birthday meal, or an annual golf outing. They also enjoy looking forward to things, especially this time of year as the days lengthen and turn warmer. Just what is it about those traditions and events that people enjoy so much? The food and beverages associated with each.

Occasion-based consumption is a strategy that focuses on promoting products for specific occasions or moments, creating a context that encourages consumers to purchase beverages for those particular events or times of day. This approach can be a powerful way to boost beverage sales. 

Here at Bernick's, we're getting ready for the spring and summer surge in demand for single-serve beverages created by special occasions like graduations, Memorial Day cook-outs, 4th of July, block parties, and summer weddings. These events drive occasion-based consumption of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, making now the perfect time to put together a seasonal sales strategy to maximize product selection and cross-promotions.

Why Focus On Occasion-Based Consumption?

While many beverage buyers have relatively stable, year-round consumption patterns, occasion-based purchases account for approximately half of all grocery store visits in the United States. These can be everyday moments like breakfast, lunch, or after-work hangs, as well as special events like holidays, parties, or sports events. Consider cultural and seasonal occasions, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, or Super Bowl Sunday.

These types of consumers are looking for ready-to-serve products, both food and beverage, for special events. They need help deciding what to buy for a party, how to pair beverages with food, and where to find the best deals. Determine the specific occasions or events where your beverages would be relevant. Retailers can tap into this 'quick trip' market by learning a bit about what motivates their target customers. According to Erickson Research, effective occasion-based beverage marketing involves going beyond the typical demographic-based advertising. Retailers need to understand:

  • How to "unlock the occasion" of the consumer as he makes his way to point-of-sale.
  • Shopping is a means to an end - consumption of food and beverages.
  • When shoppers walk their path in a store, it's with a usage occasion in mind: stock up, immediate need, forgotten item, or special occasion. Every trip to a C-store or grocery store possesses intention.

This information helps retailers hone in on the end user, which in turn guides their occasion-based promotional materials and ad campaigns. Further ideas include developing loyalty programs or incentives that encourage repeat purchases based on specific occasions. For example, offer a free beverage after a certain number of purchases tied to a recurring event, like a daily coffee break. And, leverage those social media channels of yours, too. Engage customers through social media and email campaigns, encouraging them to share their experiences with your beverages during particular occasions.

Speak Your Costumers’ Language

One of the unique aspects of occasion-based consumption is the fact that many shoppers are buying products they don't actually drink - stocking up on sodas, ciders, and beer for party guests and visitors. These shoppers aren't the end users; their friends, neighbors, and in some cases—strangers are. When they are the consumer, the products they’re buying are for ‘special occasions’, and they’re looking for something they might not typically purchase otherwise.

  • Create targeted marketing campaigns that highlight your beverages as perfect for specific occasions. Use visuals and messaging that resonate with those moments.
  • Offer promotions or discounts tied to specific events. For example, bundle packages for game nights, special pricing for holidays, or combo deals for office break times.
  • Develop beverage packages or special editions for specific occasions. These could include themed packaging, limited-time flavors, or exclusive drinks designed for a particular event.
  • Create seasonal beverages that reflect the tastes and preferences of specific times of the year. For example, offer pumpkin spice drinks in the fall or seasonally appropriate fruit and herbal beverages in the summer.

Capitalizing on these consumer behaviors means providing them with the information they need to choose the 'right' products - beverages that are on-trend, popular with a particular demographic, and/or have a broad market appeal. Retailers can drive unfamiliar shoppers towards specific products by emphasizing the connection between the occasion and the beverage - promotions that feature a particular brand can be tagged with phrases like 'the taste of summer', 'the All-American beverage', or 'perfect for parties'.

Make The Most Of Cross-Promotions

Shoppers who are driven by occasion-based consumption of beverages are usually looking for both food and beverage solutions. Retailers can promote themselves as a one-stop party shop by pairing takeaway and snack items with their sodas, beers, bottled waters, and flavored malt beverages, emphasizing how stocking up on all the party consumables in a single, convenient location saves consumers both time and money. Partner with other businesses or brands to promote beverages for particular occasions. For example, work with a local bakery to create a breakfast combo, or a fitness center to promote post-workout drinks. Engage with influencers or social media personalities to showcase your beverages in various contexts, highlighting their appropriateness for specific moments or events.

Traditional party pairings include the classic 'beer and pizza' promotions. However, retailers can present unique food and beverage solutions such as 'healthy choices' by matching flavored waters with fruit and veggie trays, combining craft beers with local cheese and meats, and combining sodas with baked potato chips and bagged snacks.

Make it Fun, Make it Memorable

If you operate in a setting where events are common (think corporate offices, universities, or public venues), capitalize on these events to boost beverage sales. Offer special drinks during concerts, sports games, or corporate functions. Or, go a little off-script and host your own events, such as product tastings, drink-making workshops, or charity events, where your beverages can be featured and purchased.

Emphasize the convenience of your beverages for specific occasions. For example, if you're targeting office workers, showcase how your drinks can be a quick and refreshing option during a break or lunch. Don’t be shy; use strategic placement and distribution to ensure your beverages are easily accessible when and where people need them for specific occasions.

Special occasion beverage buyers will quickly become repeat customers if you can meet demand. Nothing is more frustrating to a busy shopper than discovering their beverages of choice are out of stock. Chances are good that if you don't have sufficient stock on hand, you'll lose that consumer to your competitor. 

Bernick’s Beverages For All Occasions

Our beverage experts can help you stay informed about emerging trends and occasions that resonate with your target audience. This can include new cultural events, changing work patterns, or lifestyle shifts. We will work diligently to continuously refine your occasion-based strategy, keeping it relevant and appealing to your customers. By focusing on occasion-based consumption, we can help you create a compelling narrative around your beverages, encouraging customers to associate your products with meaningful moments and experiences. This can lead to increased sales, customer loyalty, and a more robust brand identity.

Place your special occasion orders now to prepare for the upcoming 'celebration season', and you'll quickly gain a reputation as the 'go-to' retailer throughout the spring and summer.

 Learn More about Partnering with Bernick's  No matter your seasonality, service model, or specialty - Bernick's has a food  and beverage solution for you. Learn More

Published on: Jun 6, 2024

Topics: Products

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