I wrote a post a while back about our approach to sustainability when it comes to our products… now I want to take it a step further. In this article you’ll find some ideas on how you can help shoppers eat healthier and keep their food fresher for longer — giving them a reason to shop at your store and become loyal customers!
Produce is key
The quality of fresh produce is often the top reason consumers choose one grocery store over another. It’s also the main reason for returning to brick-and-mortar stores. With prices soaring, quality is more important than ever.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables most people rely on visual cues to judge whether a product is fresh enough to add to their grocery cart. Knowing this, it’s best to make produce look as appealing as possible:
- The produce department should have plenty of lighting directed at the product in the “right color” to enhance the products on display.
- Put fresh, seasonal and/or local produce front and center by making use of flexible merchandising displays (like Market bins, Fresh Go bins and Market tables) so customers can easily find it.
- A poorly stocked display makes produce look old and picked over — no one wants to put what looks like leftovers in their cart! Even if stock is low make sure to create the illusion of huge quantities. This can be done by displaying produce in thin layers, like a waterfall, or piling it on food risers (sometimes called “dummies”) and display stands.
- Bruising on produce practically guarantees it’ll end up on the discount rack or in the bin, contributing to shrink. Invest in anti-bruise foam matting and/or produce trays to protect the delicate fruits and vegetables. Avoid piling items too high or out of reach too — you don’t want your customers playing jenga with a pyramid of fruits and vegetables!
Make shopping easy and convenient
While it’s crucial to create a sense of freshness and seasonality, it’s important to make shopping convenient for customers too.
The way you design your store layout can have a big impact on the atmosphere in your store and influence customer behavior. A cramped floor plan, for instance, makes it difficult for customers to move easily through the departments. Odds are they’ll just grab what they need —if they can find it — or leave to shop in a store that’s more comfortable. Research has shown that if a shopper is inadvertently touched from behind, they will move away from the merchandise area to avoid being touched.
Here are some display ideas that help make shopping easy and interesting — even for stores with small footprints.
- Consider a multi-tier display that allows for a mix of mass and smaller items, like displaying bagged potatoes on the bottom with displays of loose/specialty potatoes above. By batching them together you save space and make it easy for customers to make their choices.
- Use flexible mobile cases to showcase sale items or seasonal offerings, placing them where it’s easy for customers to find.
- Offer convenient self-serve options where customers can access what they need or pick up something on impulse… and don’t forget walk-around shelving displays!
Show your customers you care
Shopping doesn’t have to be an impersonal experience. Use the resources at your disposal to show your customers that you care about them and what they need.
- Offer cut fruit and veggies to busy shoppers in a variety of self-service display cases. Not only is this a huge convenience, it’s a good way to use up “ugly” produce too!
- Look for cross-merchandising opportunities to boost sales and offer convenience to customers. It’s easier to have taco Tuesdays when everything you need is in one place.
- Use professional signage to inform customers on the nutritional value of the food they’re buying as well as tips on how to properly prepare it. If you carry a lot of “unusual” produce this could encourage shoppers to try new things.
- Encourage healthy snacking by offering snack-size offerings in the produce department.
Make full use of social media
The tips in the preceding section can, and should, be reinforced on your social media platforms. Social media presents a golden opportunity to share pertinent information with your customers, and if your social media is being monitored you can even engage and interact with them on a one-to-one basis.
- Share recipe ideas for seasonal items or products that are on sale
- Provide tips on how to keep produce in the fridge fresher for longer (I've learned recently that its best to wrap carrots, lettuce and cucumber in foil and put cut watermelon in a colander over a bowl. Who knew?). Sharing things like this keeps your customers engaged with you and coming back for more!
- Share ideas on how to use leftovers to reduce food waste, and encourage them to only buy what they need. If this sounds counterintuitive, hear me out. Instead of buying in bulk (and feeling bad for wasting food) your customers will buy what they need and return to the store later to stock up. And we all know that it’s virtually impossible for most people to run in the store for “just one or two things”.
When we pull together, everybody wins
There are always going to be challenges in our industry, like supply chain issues, rising costs and labor shortages. But when we work together things have a way of working themselves out.
For our part, we’ll continue to provide flexible, innovative ways to display your products so you can elevate your customers’ shopping experience. How you use those products for mutual advantage is up to you.
Whether you’re thinking of upgrading a single department, transforming your entire store or just have a question or two, give us a call. We’d love to hear from you!