Foodservice and grocery retailers know the importance of the four Ps of marketing: product, placement, price, and promotion. While each “P” must be carefully considered, “product” – that is, the items you carry in your merchandising cooler unit, at checkout, and on your shelves – is arguably your biggest challenge.
Your store’s success depends on the products you choose to put on your shelves. If people don’t like what you are selling, they are not going to buy from you. End of story. So how does a store owner determine which goods will generate the greatest profit?
Here’s how to choose the right products to carry in your grocery store, and how a merchandising cooler unit can help add value to your product offerings.
Determine Your Store Type
Do you carry a range of products or focus narrowly on a specific category? Except for niche markets, most grocery stores serve several demographics. Therefore, selling an assortment (breadth) of products but little variety (depth) of each makes sense for an independent grocery store.
For example, you may carry three brands of yogurt in your merchandising cooler unit but in limited flavors. By using a wide and shallow merchandising strategy, you can ensure products move off your shelves without overstocking your inventory and overspending on items that don’t sell.
Know Your Market
You may think you know which products your customers like, but don’t rely on gut-feeling alone; instead, make data-driven decisions. To get started, look at who your customers are and their buying motivations (as well as turn-offs).
Search for trends in your data to figure out when customers buy what they buy. Determine which groups spend the most, and cater to the most profitable group by ensuring you always carry the products they desire.
Understand Consumer Buying Trends
Understanding buying trends keeps you ahead of the game. For example, in the wake of a pandemic, consumer grocery buying habits differ a great deal from day-to-day shopping habits. Likewise before a holiday or long weekend, and even from one season to another.
In the colder months or during a crisis, when more people stay home to cook, frozen food sales surge. Further, people want to get what they need quickly without lingering in the store. Grocers can address their customers’ concerns by stocking a merchandising cooler unit with essentials near the checkout.
Sell Timeless Products
Constantly switching out products to keep up with the latest trends is expensive and time-consuming. A major retail chain can afford to experiment because they have the shelf space. A smaller grocery retailer, on the other hand, would be better to pick timeless products and brands.
Focus on products with the potential to evolve with your customer base, but don’t hesitate to occasionally stock your shelves with trendy items. Most importantly is quality; low-quality products will reflect poorly on your store.
To lengthen the lifespan of less-timeless products, like fresh produce, grocery retailers should use a merchandising cooler unit whenever possible. Refrigerated units ensure fresh products last longer, thereby enabling you to sell more and waste less.
Look for Packaging That Sells
The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” doesn’t apply to a product’s packaging – another of the four Ps. Our buying decisions are based on equal parts of emotion and logic. Thus, most people will ultimately choose one product over another simply because they like the look of the external wrapping.
Along with the aesthetic appeal, a product’s packaging should clearly display nutritional information. People generally want to avoid genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) and cheap, artificial fillers in food. And no matter how attractive the packaging is, if the buyer can’t immediately tell what’s inside, they won’t be buying the item.
The biggest challenge most foodservice retailers and grocery store owners face is deciding which products to sell. However, by understanding your customers and making data-driven decisions about buying trends, you can maintain the right inventory to keep products moving off your shelves, costs down, and customers coming back.
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