What is MUP?
The MUP (Minimum Unit Pricing) is a new piece of legislation from the Scottish Government which will see a minimum price put on alcohol per unit sold. So, let’s say you had a bottle of wine, containing 10 units that you were selling for £3.50, the new changes would mean that the bottle of wine could now only be sold for a minimum of £5.00.
The legislation was proposed over 5 years ago, and it’s only now after a lengthy legal battle with the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association), which the government won, that they can finally roll this legislation out on the 1st of May 2018. Its purpose is to crack down on levels of alcohol related deaths and health issues which are 10% higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK.
How will it affect retailers?
As a retailer, you may be wondering about the potential impact this will have on your business, it’s likely to lead to a few disgruntled customers but it’s also likely to increase profits as the government has stated that any extra money made will be pocketed by retailers. Furthermore, it will directly benefit independent and convenience store retailers as the supermarkets will no-longer be able to offer deep discounts on alcohol products. There will be price parity between all licensed retailers in Scotland. This creates a level playing field, which retailers can use to their advantage.
Now is the time to really make your beer, wine and spirits category SHINE.
MUP - 13 Points to Consider
1. Shoppers’ focus - this will move away from price, and on to other aspects; including quality, ease of purchase and convenience.
2. Adding value - a great way of making Convenience stores even more attractive than big chain stores when buying booze: chilling all beers, ciders, whites, roses, RTDs; offering add-ons again (glassware, t-shirts etc); offering informed advice (training staff about the difference between whisky regions, the sorts of meals that various wines go with, recipe cards.)
3. Range – is your range compelling, unique, reflective of current market and consumer trends? do you know what the latest consumer trends are in each of the main alcohol categories and sub categories? Local sourcing, craft beers and gins all warrant focus.
4. Availability – do you have 100% availability of your core lines 100% of the time. Availability is critical to your standing as a reliable option for your shoppers.
5. Chilled – do you have sufficient chilled products? (see also: no.4 Availability!)
6. Premium – do you have exciting premium lines? (see also: no.4 Availability!)
7. Gifting – every day is 1/365th of the population’s birthday! Then there’s anniversaries, and loads of other gifting opportunities through the year. Do you have gift cards and suitable packaging? Bottles of wine or spirits make great gifts, with associated gift bags, wrapping etc!
8. POS – is it informative but also inspiring? Make sure that you are using your POS to inform your customers about changes whilst at the same time encouraging them to shop in your store.
9. Events – world cups, Mother's day, Father's day, sporting events, TV extravaganzas, Easter, Halloween etc. These national events drive traffic through your door. Make sure your stores are looking like exciting places to shop in, people will impulse buy products which stand-out.
10. Staff knowledge/training – how well do you and your colleagues know the alcohol category? Some of your staff may be non-drinkers so might not know what to recommend. Bolt has a training module in ‘Wine Selling' (and other categories) – give your colleagues the opportunity to learn more about the products they sell.
11. Stores need to be ready for a potential rise in footfall - people coming on a mission for beer, wine and spirits are also likely to pick up incremental items, which is precisely why the bigger chains used booze as a footfall driver for so long. Beat them at their own game! BUT customers need to know that this will be the game from now on and they need to know now. The sooner you can make your store the 'go to' place for beer, wines and spirits in your local community the more likely they are to begin habitually shopping with you over the big chains.
12. Communication - ensure you (over) communicate the changes to alcohol to shoppers through social media, leaflets, in-store POS and your staff. Vital to let shoppers know there’s no point in going to Tesco for a case of beer or a bottle of vodka because it’ll be the same price as it is in your stores. Who wants to buy 24 beers they don’t really need for £22+ when you can get 4 cold ones at your local store for the same price pro rata? Convenience will become king again, even before you get onto developing your range.
13. Ensure your compliant - there's a huge opportunity to see your alcohol sales shine following the introduction of MUP, but the most critical step has to be to ensure compliance. Bolt is developing 4 modules focussed on 'Alcohol Licensing & Sales', prices start at £10 per module, per person. Our first module, focusses on MUP and is a simple 10 minute module designed to give retailers, managers and staff the essential knowledge on MUP and how it effects retailers, covering:
- definition of MUP
- how MUP can impact your premises licence
- explanation of why MUP does not apply to some sales of alcohol
- how to calculate the MUP
- how to review and ensuring pricing is kept up to date
- the differences between hospitality and non-hospitality sales
- Dual pricing
- MUP and promotions
If you'd like to find out more about how Bolt can help convenience stores embrace the changes to minimum unit pricing then get in contact today!
*Also check out our module on the Age Related Sales**