My Refrigerator

So, you think you’ve got perks? A secretary? A private jet? Well, guess what? I have a refrigerator in my office.

True, it’s a little smaller than the normal home model, but it’s definitely larger than the ones you’ll see in, say, a dorm room or private plane. But, after all, I am the publisher of a renowned beverage retailing magazine, and beverages should be a part of my life. Also, when they got the big vault refrigerators over at BevNET, they gave me this one, which is really nice, ‘cause it keeps stuff cold.

The reason I bring this up is that after being away for a little while, I took stock of what I had in there. The inventory inside is a microcosm of the world of beverages. There are about 40 bottles, cans and tetra-pack boxes of the latest the industry has to offer. A sampling? I’ve got FRS, Function Drinks, Twist, Sweet Success, New Leaf, Skinny Water, Muscle Milk, Carpe Diem, Fiji, 24C, Respect, Honest Ade, Vida Tea, Nutrisoda and a bevy of others. Notably absent were any traditional CSD’s, although I did have a few boutique sodas. What can I say? I’m a rebel.

After perusing my stock, I’ve come to appreciate what retailers must go through every day to create the right mix and assortment for their customers. How do you achieve the right balance and selection to give the consumer? Which brands will be an everyday purchase, and which will be that luxury to savor on special occasions? Will you be able to articulate the regimens of the new functional drinks that enable them to truly work?

Add to the mix the standard-bearer brands from the big guys and you’ve got quite a dilemma. Do you take cooler space away from them to satisfy the new taste profiles of your customers?

As we enter the key sell-in period for 2008, keep in mind the needs of the customer first. I love the idea of being able to open my refrigerator and find a plethora of products inside. It means I have the luxury of knowing exactly what I want, or waiting to see what will strike my fancy when I open the door. Give your customers that freedom of choice, too. After all, if I can fit it into my little unit, you’ve got space galore!