National Convenience Show to provide one-stop shop for retail business growth

UK’s leading trade event will help c-store operators and independent retailers flourish by getting the low down on latest trends

The National Convenience Show will return to the NEC from 16-18 April, against a positive convenience store growth forecast of almost 18%[1] over the next five years, with the channel anticipated to reach a value of £47bn1.

In further good news for the channel, a survey by shopper insights consultancy Shoppercentric found that the use of convenience stores has remained static, with 49% of respondents regularly using them. However, the same survey, released in February 2018, found that shoppers are more likely to shop around for the best price or product, so it is imperative that traders are up to speed with the latest trends to hit the market – as well as keeping a comparative eye on their competitors.

The National Convenience Show offers the perfect forum for convenience stores, forecourt traders, independent retailers, symbol groups, off licences and wholesalers to conduct these investigations. It enables owners and buyers to review the best fresh produce and products, as well as identifying new technology and services, from POS support to cutting-edge payment processes, that can improve efficiency and the in-store experience. In addition, it is packed with almost 120 exhibitors from companies including Jacobs Douwe Egberts, the coffee expert; Tropicana Wholesale, the health and sports nutrition distributor; Primal Pantry, which produces healthy food on the go; Vita Coco Water; F’real, which makes food to go, cheese and dairy and ready meals; drinks brand Boost; Urban Eat; and tobacco company Philip Morris.

Away from consumables, visitors can gain free advice from the Bank of England, which will be on hand to help businesses identify fraud bank notes and more; CBE Software, for the latest in business services and technology; BCB ATN to learn all about using Bitcoin in their stores; and My Hermes, for those stores keen to learn how to diversify.

Michael Skinner, Business Manager, Fayre Field Foods, said, of last year’s show: “I had a great time at the show and got a lot of good new leads. It is a good idea to make the effort to come to the show as a visitor as there are a lot of opportunities.”

Sandip Chauhan, Partner, Spar, said: “The show was recommended to us so we could explore some new concepts. I had a really great time and I got to test and talk to the people behind some exciting new brands.”

In addition to the many companies displaying their latest products and services, visiting retailers will also be able to benefit from the advice and insights of experienced experts in the show’s dedicated Hubs.

Sessions at the Retailer Hub – the show’s on-trend stage for topical discussions – are designed to keep store owners up to date with the latest product and consumer trends, allowing them to grow their businesses in the most profitable direction. One such presentation, delivered by research company him!, will share the latest convenience shopper trends insights to help retailers tailor their businesses for the future.

Award-winning business expert Kate Hardcastle has shared her insights on TV, as well as having transformed companies across the country. Now, she is coming to the NEC and will be on hand to answer all business queries coming her way at the National Convenience Show.

With health and wellbeing still a major theme across industries, a further session will focus on the continued growth in demand for free-from products, protein-enhanced snacks and antioxidant-enriched drinks. This presentation will help retailers navigate this booming marketplace with a focus on the balance between health and indulgence, as well as how the ‘acceptable binging’ trend can boost sales.

Hard-hitting panel discussions will also be staged at the Retailer Hub, with one exploring the impact of the Tesco/Booker and Co-op/Nisa mergers on the convenience market and what this changing landscape means for shoppers and retailers. Meanwhile, the convenience, independent and forecourt channels have been undisputedly hard-hit by recent changes in tobacco laws. A further panel discussion will examine what this means for footfall and set out clever strategies for new products to get customers through the door, as well as how to convince them to spend when they get there.

Alongside the Retailer Hub will be the complementary Digital Hub, where retailers will learn all they need to know about social media from a trading point of view.

Pete Doyle, Founder and CEO of SocialRetail Group, will offer his advice on social media. With 28 years’ experience in retail across successful retailers including Waitrose, Toys R Us and Marks & Spencer, he is well placed to bring less savvy retailers up to speed. He will run five 15-minute demos throughout each day, with different sessions suited to each level from beginner to advanced. Designed for the additional benefit of advice one-on-one or in small groups, the sessions tailored for beginners will cover how to do your own social media health check and how to write more engaging content to encourage customer interaction online.

At the intermediate level, for those retailers who have grasped the basics but need a little more guidance on maximising the benefits of social media, sessions will cover how to run ads campaigns on Facebook and Twitter – a tool that can be very useful in targeting the right users and getting the most out of social. For those most advanced visitors to the Digital Hub, the focus will be on how to do social media checking promotions in your shop.

Another session will explore which social platform is best suited to each business, guiding store owners in how to communicate effectively with their customers through social media. An expert will break down the differences between each platform, from Twitter and Instagram to LinkedIn, and clarify when and in what cases each should be used to turn ‘likes’ into lucrative sales.

With the mutual goal being increasing revenue in store, there will be a helpful session dedicated to driving customer loyalty online. Experts will share ways to use digital to build strong relationships with customers and create the essential loyalty that translates to more sales and bigger profits.

The Digital Hub is a space created for intimate workshops so attendees can ask questions specific to their needs and receive the bespoke advice that is most helpful. iPads will be provided within the hub so less savvy retailers can get online, make accounts and start practising straight away.

Other insights offered at the National Convenience Show this year will include capitalising on the demand for provenance; learning how to enhance an offer by meeting trends for personalisation, speed of service and targeting younger consumers; and how to maximise consumer spend in store. With consumer demands constantly changing, the trend for premiumisation forcing operators to continually evolve, and the need to stay one step ahead of competitors, retailers will come away from the 2018 show with plenty of essential advice to apply to their own businesses.

Dan Eversfield from the National Convenience Show said: “The convenience channel is a great place to be right now. Deeply engrained in shopper behaviour and with a strong future forecast, now is the time to capitalise on wavering loyalty to the bigger grocers. The National Convenience Show provides a one-stop opportunity to see the latest and just-launched products and services, as well as unrivalled expert advice to learn from, all in the same place.

“Also invaluable in this industry are the networking prospects offered by April’s show. Retailers can meet with peers to discuss like challenges and the solutions found by others, as well as drawing insights from industry specialists. Attendance at the 2018 edition of this expanding show is crucial to identifying the tools that will enable store owners to develop their businesses.”

Following its acquisition of the Pro-Retail trademark in January 2018, William Reed has agreed a partnership with Valassis, the UK’s largest coupon and voucher services provider. This partnership will give exhibitors the opportunity to offer visitors exclusive deals at the show.

The availability of deals further improves the offer available to retailers at the National Convenience Show, not only giving them key networking opportunities with key suppliers and wholesalers from the industry, but also a further incentive through discounted goods. These offers will be available to collect from the relevant suppliers at the show and act as the perfect ice breaker when opening discussions; maintaining cooperation across the sector.

The National Convenience Show is co-located with the UK’s largest food and drink trade event – Food & Drink Expo – Farm Shop & Deli Show and Foodex, as well as the new The Ingredients Show. Together they will bring together suppliers from across the whole food and drink industry, from retailers to manufacturers. To register for free, receiving entry to all co-located shows, visit:


Notes to editor:

The National Convenience Show is co-located with four other events – The Ingredients Show, Foodex, the Farm Shop & Deli Show and Food & Drink Expo – the country’s premier food and drink event. Together they will bring together 1,500-plus suppliers from across the whole food and drink supply chain, from retailers to manufacturers, making it the place to do business in the industry.


[1] IGD: UK food and grocery forecasts, 6 June 2017