The Magic of Merchandising
By Kathleen Furore
Sales can soar with creative displays and outreach efforts.
If there's any question that creative merchandising can increase sales, one look at the Austin, Minn., Hy-Vee should quell all doubt.
Last winter, the store featured a football-themed breakfast display as part of the Milk Processor Education Program's (MilkPEP's) Breakfast Blitz Retail Display Contest. Running from Jan. 8 to Feb. 17, the campaign was designed to drive sales of milk and complementary breakfast products.
Jenn Haugen, a registered dietitian, worked with the Hy-Vee team to build a display using a homemade goal post, flags and Breakfast Blitz POS. She also wrote a newspaper column, reached shoppers on Facebook and Twitter, taped a TV segment, created intercom messaging, and held an in-store nutrition education event with Hy-Vee's milk processor, Kemps. Customers won prizes for buying milk, which more than 75 percent of attendees did, resulting in a 563 percent increase in milk sales over the previous year.
Other contest participants reported sales jumps, too.
At Hy-Vee's Fairmont, Minn., store, dairy manager Dustin Benes built a goal post, laid green "turf" carpet, and hung football-shaped balloons on an end cap filled with white, chocolate and strawberry milk. Customers were invited via intercom to in-store samplings of milk and breakfast dishes such as Chocolate Milk French Toast and Super Food Smoothies. Shoppers received recipe cards, crazy straws, footballs and other giveaways from Kemps. Milk sales climbed 114 percent over the previous year during the promotional event.
And at King Kullen stores in New York, dairy buyer Al Spinazzola teamed with Tuscan Dairy representative Amanda Williams to build more than 16 displays that included bacon, cream cheese, eggs, hash browns, butter and cheese, along with white and flavored milk. Overall, the stores reported 1.4 percent to 13 percent increases in milk sales, and additional increases of the other breakfast items.
Those examples underscore the significant role merchandising can play in pumping up breakfast profits.
Tapping Breakfast's Potential
Breakfast products, in fact, account for just 8 percent of store sales, proving there's substantial room to grow the category.
Meal solution merchandising is a primary tool retailers can tap. As Dairy Meal Solutions: Merchandising Works notes, it "satisfies the shopper's need for solutions and hits on key consumer drivers, including health-and-wellness benefits and a desire for homemade meals and convenience, while also providing retailers the opportunity to differentiate from the competition."
It's also a way to add value without cutting prices.
Portable breakfasts, in particular, present a significant opportunity. "Consumers are looking to "grab and go' in the morning, and products from grocery stores offer real cost savings," the publication stresses. "Out-of-home options are nearly three times as expensive. Plus consumers are looking for nutritious options to start their day, making this a strong area for retailers to grow their health-and-wellness connection."
Making milk, yogurt and cheese components of meal solution marketing can enhance the results of those initiatives, since dairy outperforms other departments with its profit-to-space ratio, and dairy products are included in more grocery trips than items from most other aisles, according to The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "As a highly ritualized eating occasion," the center's report adds, "getting in on the breakfast mix will drive repeat, long-lasting sales."
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