People are surprisingly fickle. This is one of the universal truths known to anyone who works in the retail sector. Although to the uninitiated there may be the delusion that this only applies in high fashion areas, the way grocery produce is presented actually has a big impact on sales. The color, the style and the height of a product display all influence the shopper.
So, what are some things to look for when choosing produce displays in order to make sure that your grocery items are displayed at their most attractive? Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of research that has looked at consumer shopping habits, movements and preferences. When it comes to displaying fresh fruit and vegetables, the keyword is “fresh”.
Most grocery stores, or produce sections in a larger market, will spray water periodically gently overproduce in order to maintain its appearance of freshness, larger supermarkets even have an automated hydration system. The sneaky thing about this is that it does little to actually maintain fresh produce, only the appearance. However, because you are still looking at a produce display that is going to get a regular soaking, the display must be made of a material able to withstand this extra hydration. Cardboard might make an excellent temporary shelving option for the summer chocolate sauce & packaged strawberry display but it will not cope with dewy apples or winter weight pumpkins.
This is why most produce displays in larger grocery stores are now made of molded plastic. However, this obviously doesn’t mean that they all need to be the same. Having custom designed produce bins can help create the right look and feel within a store. You might choose to design your entire produce section in the same color scheme as your logo, or you might think outside the box a little more and create color-coded sections to make it easier for your customers to work out exactly what they want and where they need to be. Berries over in the section with purple bins, tree fruit over in the green bin section, root vegetables over in the orange bin section.
In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the nutritional impact on their health, being able to draw their focus and attention to your produce section increases your profit margin as well as helping to create repeat customers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266052/
Creating the Right Location For Your Produce
A produce display bin isn’t simply about making a place to store your beans until they have been sold. Research has looked into how shelf displays and product placement plays a large factor in what customers choose to buy. The location of a product can have a huge impact, with products placed at optimal locations for the highest visual attention being the products that are going to have a higher turnover. Often a store will have higher priced items in these locations on a shelf, but in the case of produce sometimes it is better to have the product that will be purchased in the largest quantities.
Although tinned tomatoes may be able to sit in a prime position on a shelf for several weeks when you are looking at the turnover of your produce items you don’t have this timeframe. Ensuring that produce with a shorter lifespan is in a prime location to have a higher turnover means that you ultimately will minimize wastage and increase your profit.
Research also shows that if the way your produce is displayed gives the impression that previous shoppers have hunted through the display to find the items, they wanted that a shopper is less likely to want to purchase these items. It is a fine balance between getting a produce bin that is able to hold enough of the item to be appealing, accessible (and profitable), but also not so much that it looks either like no one else wants to buy it or that everyone else has touched the produce first. This is one of the reasons why bigger grocery stores will have specialist staff in the fruit and vegetable section who keep stock levels topped up, ensure that fruit and vegetables always look like the only person who has handled them is the farmer this morning and removed any damaged or rotten items.
Giveaways and Samples
Although in-store demonstrations are nothing new, an increasing trend for produce marketing around the world is the availability of free samples. Often provided as “free fruit for the kids” (see here for an example), the trend towards encouraging healthy eating and attempting to create healthy eating particularly in children is heralded at a positive change towards trying to turn the tide on the increasing obesity epidemic we are seeing throughout the western world.
However well-meaning, this is still a marketing opportunity, and the display must be appealing to both parents and children. Interestingly, the majority of supermarkets who have adopted this scheme have opted to use displays that are wood or cane effect rather than the molded plastic that is used in the rest of the produce department.
Plastic tends to have more negative connotations when used in conjunction with products aimed at children, so by using natural display materials, there is an emphasis on the healthy aspect of the free offer. These baskets are also placed at a level which is easy access for a young child to reach in and choose their own item.
Supermarkets implementing this idea tend to use the freshest, juiciest options and will use both fruit and vegetables (of a type that can be easily eaten raw, such as carrots). This means that a child, who is now quiet, is happily eating a piece of fruit or vegetable. Because children are notoriously fussy and parents universally seem to have a difficult time in getting them to eat enough fruit or vegetables, the sight of their child happily eating is generally going to inspire an extra purchase of that particular item.
In this way, there is a combined marketing effort that caters for children and then needs to be backed up with appealing produce displays for adults.