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How To Merchandise Beverage Coolers Effectively

QBD beverage cooler in cafe setting

In the convenience store, micro market, and grocery store space, merchandising your product effectively is key when it comes to boosting sales. No matter how good your products are, customers will not reach for them if they are not being merchandised well. The best coolers in these settings are meticulously prepared and presented to not just attract customers to your retail space, but also to boost sales and customer satisfaction, making them more likely to return. A customer who found a beverage based on your promotional efforts and enjoyed it, will have the positive retail experience stick in their mind, making repeat visits or recommendations more likely. This blog will lay out some tips and strategies for how to merchandise beverage coolers to ensure your business gets the most out of their commercial coolers as a sales and marketing tool.

Demographic analysis

Who is coming to your store? This will dictate much of your beverage cooler merchandising strategy, as you want to specifically target your most popular demographics, and understand their age, income, and lifestyle as best you can to make informed merchandising decisions. Children will prefer different beverages to adults, so if you see lots of families with children frequenting your retail space, products like juice may be more popular. For older, health-conscious demographics, kombucha or other “functional” beverages may be more popular. If we look at sports drinks in particular, 46% of purchases are by those in the 18-34 age range, and only 19% are by those over the age of 55.

Buying behaviour

Take time to understand what motivates purchases within your space. Are customers buying a specific product because it is positioned right before the checkouts in a beverage cooler, and the convenience causes them to grab one? Or is the price of the product simply better than other products you offer? If a product you thought would perform well is underperforming, buyer behaviour could be a factor. Maybe you have too much variety for a single category of beverage and your customers are overwhelmed with choice.

Consumer needs

Be aware of current trends and what your customer base prefers. Offer enough variety, but not too much to ensure that the products in your beverage coolers encompass a range of consumer preferences. Healthy beverages, unique flavours, or environmentally conscious packaging are all avenues you could explore. 3 in 4 consumers choose specific beverages based on health considerations, and 1 in 6 seek “nutritionally-enhanced” beverages, so make sure you’re addressing these desires.

High traffic areas

Your beverage coolers will be seen by more people if you place them where more people are, it’s that simple. This seems obvious, and sometimes the layout of your retail space won’t allow you to position your beverage cooler exactly where you want but do whatever you can to have your products visible in high traffic areas such as the store entrance or by the checkouts.

Placement near complementary products

A beverage cooler flanked by a few shelves of snacks or prepared fresh foods can increase the chance of someone grabbing a drink to accommodate their small lunch.


Your beverage coolers should be well-lit and positioned in such a way that customers can see them from as far away as possible. If you can’t greet customers at the door with your beverage coolers, do your best to ensure that they are visible upon entry, as this will increase the chance of consumers frequenting them at some point during their shopping.

Clean appearance

Keep things clean. No beverage cooler should be dusty or marred by spilled products. Glass should be kept clean of fingerprints as often as possible. This not only affords better visibility for the customer, but it also boosts customer trust in the quality of your offerings. Keep shelves stocked as often as you can, to present a fuller, professional appearance.

Attractive signage

Incorporate eye-catching signage and get creative when it comes to advertising the products in your beverage coolers. Utilize attractive, back-lit graphics atop beverage coolers to draw customer eyes to your offerings. Big brands should be accompanied with recognizable graphics, color schemes, and logos to take advantage of pre-existing customer conceptions of products.

Unique presentation

Don’t be afraid of pushing some creative layout and positioning options when it comes to your beverage coolers. Change up shelving configurations, color-coordinate products within the beverage cooler, or switch up the lighting within your unit to stand out from other products. Consider incorporating graphics or signage inside the beverage cooler itself, advertising deals and new products to catch the attention of customers.

Diversify options

Ensure your beverage coolers have what people are looking for. Don’t stay in one lane of product offerings and miss out on customers seeking a larger variety of products than you are used to providing. Variety is an essential aspect of sales, with the average shopper reporting purchases of products in four different beverage categories.

Monitor market trends

Keep abreast of market trends within your industry space. Stay informed of new products, seasonal trends, and popular flavours to ensure your beverage coolers have what people are currently seeking out. For example, soft drinks and juice account for the greatest sales volume, and are purchased by 7 in 10 shoppers monthly.

Rotate your offerings

In a similar vein, don’t be afraid to update your product offerings and rotate out current products. Repeat customers may be enticed to experiment with new products or purchase additional products if you offer fresh products every so often. You could have a beverage cooler dedicated to limited-time only products particular to a season, or a beverage cooler containing your most popular products on an ever-rotating loop.

Limited-time deals

Similarly, to limited-time products, you could offer limited-time deals to boost sales and encourage customers to try new products. This could come in many forms: a straightforward discount, bundled deals, or buy-one-get-one-free offers. Experiment and ensure that your promotions are made clear through signage present inside or around your beverage coolers.

Combos and bundles

Customers like feeling like they received more value than normal from a transaction. To this end, push bundles to customers that will direct them towards products they have not tried before, or boost sales for specific items by attaching them to other best-selling products.

In closing

There are lots of ways you could choose to revitalize your retail space, and we hope this list has given you some direction and inspiration to make the most of the year. Be sure to check out our blog each month for new information and check out our newsletter for quarterly insight into the retail refrigeration space.

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