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    On the Move

    Mobile merchandisers put the right products in the best traffic patterns for increased sales.

    By Bob Ingram
    Kysor/Warren’s MX1LC-SC (self-contained) mobile merchandiser puts product where it’s needed.

    The movie ?Field of Dreams? coined the phrase ?Build it, and they will come.? Today?s supermarkets are using mobile merchandisers to put their own marketing spin on this phrase: Move it, and sales will come.

    As Frank Callis, director of sales and marketing at Royston LLC, in Jasper, Ga., points out: ?Today, retailers are offering an ever-broadening range of products, and using mobile merchandisers allows stores to experiment with new products near impulse-purchase hot spots. Additionally, we?ve found that savvy retailers are demanding well-designed mobile merchandisers that easily adapt to current store design, sight lines and traffic patterns. Lastly, while it?s clear that many retailers utilize mobile merchandisers as part of their front end flow, we?ve found that they work equally well in other areas of the store, and that retailers are interested in exploiting that opportunity.?

    Callis says that Royston?s innovative Get & Go smaller merchandisers work well for retailers? seasonal displays, cross-sells or closeouts. They can be linked for an effective end cap feature, or placed back to back for a walkaround display. They?re available in many color and finish options to fit any store décor.

    ?Our most popular mobile merchandiser is our Hen House heated island case,? he notes. ?It can be moved around the store, which makes it perfect for daypart merchandising. You can set it up in the deli with boxes of wings for lunch, or set it up near the front end to help customers looking for last-minute meal replacement.?

    According to Callis, Royston?s latest mobile solution is the Heated Island Merchandiser, which is on casters, comes with a multiple-zone heat control, and features a programmable control so that it can turn itself on and off.

    ?We anticipate further aesthetic changes in mobile merchandisers as store design continues to modernize and become more consumer-friendly rather than stock-friendly,? Callis observes. ?We also see them increasing in popularity as stores further experiment with new product lines. For instance, gluten-free products began on mobile merchandisers initially and are now standard stock. As consumers become more savvy, stores will need the flexibility of mobile merchandisers.?

    Hold Everything

    Mobile merchandisers are being more widely used in the deli, produce and fresh food areas due to the increased popularity of prepared foods and organic, locally grown and gluten-free products, says Terri Ess, marketing communications specialist at FFR Merchandising Inc., in Twinsburg, Ohio. ?They also provide an ideal solution for showcasing seasonal and holiday offerings that tend to change frequently,? Ess points out.

    FFR offers a variety of wood and metal mobile merchandisers, including rolling bakery merchandisers, Euro tables, wooden carts and polymer shelving, as well as food-sampling units. The sampling units are extremely popular for showcasing new and seasonal food items, Ess notes; they come in four countertop and three free-standing styles for flexibility throughout the store. The company?s new Side Kick Cross Merchandiser is a free-standing shelving unit that creates a versatile cross-merchandising fixture at the end of aisles, accommodating many styles of product packaging, according to Ess, who adds that its shelves can hold a variety of packaging styles and heights, while the pegboard back allows the display of pegged products. The Side Kick also includes an adapter to secure the shelving system to aisle gondolas. What?s more, the merchandiser?s durable black steel with black pegboard construction complements most store décor.

    ?The future of mobile merchandisers is likely to include the use of sustainable materials,? Ess asserts, ?and, possibly, the integration of technological features and functions.?

    Reinventing Center Store

    Bridgeton, Mo.-based Hussmann Corp. offers several refrigerated mobile merchandisers that can be used to feature specially priced promotions, to cross-merchandise products within a department, or to display popular food items in convenient locations throughout the store.

    ?Our SM/SN spot merchandisers are the most popular mobile displays in our portfolio,? says Cheryl Beach, Hussmann?s marketing communication manager. ?They can be used for low-temperature products, and are available with either an open top or a sliding glass lid. They have a large display capacity and can be easily moved anywhere in the store. The SM/SN are great for specially priced promotional products and fit well at the end of an island or shelving run.?

    Hussmann has recently introduced the new Q2-SS refrigerated merchandiser, which features multiple display levels with shelves, steps and racks. ?The Q2-SS is great for impulse sales in the deli, meat, produce, beverage, grab-and-go and bakery departments,? Beach says.

    Another new Hussmann offering is the MPC orchard bin-style two-level display merchandiser with a wood-clad front. It?s designed to integrate with the farmers? market trend and attract shoppers to fresh-picked produce on display.

    ?We see growth in the use of mobile merchandisers as food retailers reinvent the center store and want to create destination departments through cross-merchandising,? Beach says. ?These smaller mobile merchandisers also enable retailers to appeal to their convenience shoppers by having their ?must-haves? within easy access at the front of the store and the checkout area.?

    Basket Cases

    ?Our name is Mobile Merchandisers,? says VP of Sales and Marketing Jerry Price at the company?s Mount Vernon, Wash., headquarters, ?and 90 percent of our displays can be purchased with wheels.?

    According to Price, Mobile Merchandisers? line of willow baskets is very popular in the grocery industry, with specialty racks available for produce, bakery and ?virtually every department within the store.?

    The company?s latest mobile merchandiser, he notes, is a four-basket merchandiser, which boasts a different look in merchandising and basket color.

    ?With the growing competition of products trying to find space, and the continued growth of private label, we are positioning ourselves to not only provide merchandisers, but also provide insight on how we can increase customers? sales in previously unused selling space,? Price says. ?The Rack Doctors from Mobile Merchandisers are available to help healthy stores get healthier, and we welcome the opportunity to make ?house calls? ? store visits ? with our customers.?

    Convenience, Portability and Eco-friendliness

    Michael Lehtinen, case product manager at Heat-craft Kysor/Warren, in Columbus, Ga., has also observed an increase in retailers deploying mobile units. Kysor/Warren produces single-deck and multideck mobile merchandisers in 4-, 6-, 8- and 10-foot lengths, which Lehtinen says are ideal for bakery, meat, seafood, produce and deli use.

    According to Lehtinen, the most popular of these is the 4-foot single-deck model, which provides the most convenient and portable format in the company?s line. ?Our latest mobile platform is our 8-foot MX1,? he adds.?It was developed for retailers looking to deploy refrigerated end caps when required.?

    In the future, according to Lehtinen, mobile merchandisers using alternative refrigerants will limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), known to be harmful to the environment.

    Thus, it would seem that mobile merchandisers can help the Earth as well as supermarket sales ? a good move all the way around.

    ?As consumers become more savvy, stores will need the flexibility of mobile merchandisers.?
    ?Frank Callis, Royston LLC

    By Bob Ingram
    • About Bob Ingram

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