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NATSO Connect Coca Cola Presentation Shares Signage & Product Positioning Ideas to Boost Beverage Sales

Posted in: Truckstop Business


For two and a half days, the industry gathers to find knowledge, solutions and connections at NATSO Connect. Just like NATSO Connect, the NATSO Connect Magazine is your source for improving your travel plaza business operations. 

NATSO Connect Coca Cola Presentation Shares Signage & Product Positioning Ideas to Boost Beverage Sales

Those within the truckstop and travel plaza industry know that beverages and the cold vault make up a significant portion of travel plaza and truckstop sales, and research from Coca-Cola shows that beverages are often the catalyst for a stop in the first place.

“Beverages are the No. 1 reason for a trip to the store and account for more than one in four trips,” said J.T. McMahan, senior sales manager for Coca-Cola. McMahan made the remarks while sharing the latest innovate research from the beverage powerhouse during a presentation at NATSO Connect 2018.


However, 74 percent of gas customers leave without buying anything, which makes it important to find ways to capture their attention.

More than half of gas buyers—53 percent—have noticed a sign that has led to a purchase, McMahan said. Having identifiers is important for today’s consumers, with 72 percent saying they want to get in and out quickly and 52 percent saying they want to find what they need, according to Coca-Cola’s research.

The path-to-purchase for the customer typically starts in the restroom, so positioning items to grab customers’ attention when they leave the restroom can go a long way to securing a sale.

McMahan said Coca-Cola focuses on innovation. “We start with something new, something to excite your consumer,” he said. 

Beverage innovation will continue to drive growth. During NATSO Connect, Coca-Cola shared that revenue growth from new items in the past year reached $3.3 billion, accounting for about 4 percent of the total category.

By knowing who their customers are, truckstop and travel plaza operators can better target products and promotions. McMahan said truck drivers often want a larger package while c-store customers wants smaller package.

All consumers are interested in obtaining value for their dollar, and shoppers spend more when food and beverages are purchased as part of a deal. That means operators can increase the average trip spend with food bundles. “It is all about growing the basket and understanding bundles,” McMahan said.

McMahan talked directly with attendees about specific ways they could grow their sales and said Coca-Cola can work with customers to build out their entire store. “We see it as if you succeed, we succeed,” he said. 

During NATSO Connect 2019, industry thought leaders will share the latest information on trends affecting the entire industry, including those related to food and beverage. Learn more about NATSO Connect at

/// NATSO Connect 2019 will be held February 10 - 13 in Orlando, Florida. Register and learn more about NATSO Connect here

Photo credit: Brittany Palmer/NATSO

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About the Author

Amy Toner

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

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