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GMDC releases “Seasonal Best Practices, for the New World of Shopping: Part Two” whitepaper

BY DSN STAFF

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Global Market Development Center and its Educational Leadership Council on Wednesday released the "Seasonal Best Practices, for the New World of Shopping: Part Two" whitepaper, a comprehensive look at total-store business-building opportunities through nonfoods during the January to September merchandising seasons. 
 
This whitepaper — a follow-up to Part One issued in March 2014 which focused on fourth-quarter seasons such as Thanksgiving and Christmas — is filled with actionable consumer insights for retailers and CPG suppliers, case studies, new GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy data, and a proprietary survey of GMDC member retailers. 
 
"Seasonal Best Practices, for the New World of Shopping: Part Two" underscores the increasingly strategic view of seasonal nonfoods merchandising taken by retail senior executives. It also pinpoints numerous times of the year when stores can grow basket size, increase trips and elevate the shopping experience through nonfoods seasonal. Included are various case studies that demonstrate how smart sourcing, trend spotting, and targeted messages can drive seasonal successes, while retailer interviews address critical issues in nonfoods seasonal.
 
“The span of seasonal education gained from reading this whitepaper will truly make retailers and their partners appreciate the potential of nonfoods seasonal, when done right, to grow your total store,” stated Mark Mechelse, Director of Research, Industry Insights & Communications, GMDC. “It will allow them to be more effective and timely in implementing seasonal selling strategies to better tell their story, better relate to their audience and upsell consumers.”
 
GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy data tables illustrate new measurability driving seasonal performance – showing that Best Practice food retailers outpace laggards in almost every seasonal opportunity of the year. Additionally, findings in the exclusive GMDC survey of member retailers point the way in retailer-supplier collaboration and targeting nonfoods seasonal to specific customer groups.
 
As retailers currently merchandise for the busy Back-to-School season, data cited in the whitepaper emphasizes the necessity of keeping an omni-channel presence at retail by revealing that when it comes to using smartphones, 66% of BTS shoppers use them to locate retailers, 64% compare prices and 43% check item availability. 
 
“We issue more seasonal nonfoods deals via text and emails to frequent shopper cardholders. We time these to the last week of major seasons to boost customer traffic and awareness, and we’ve seen benefits," noted Scott Shapiro, category manager GM/seasonal at Brookshire's, durinig the GMDC Virtual Roundtable.
 
While the full version of “Seasonal Best Practices for the New World of Shopping: Part Two” is available to GMDC members only, the executive summary, is available for public viewing and can be found here
 
An executive summary for Part One is also available here. GMDC members can view the full version of both whitepapers in their myGMDC Content Library. 
 
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Relevance, urgency prompt purchasing

BY David Salazar

Food and drug retailers may need to modify their approaches to get the most from their general merchandise outside of the big fourth-quarter holidays, according to a new whitepaper from the Global Marketing Development Center. The report is the second part of GMDC’s “Seasonal Best Practices for the New World of Shopping” series.

(For the full report, including charts, click here.)

From January to September, there’s still an opportunity in leveraging seasonal products to bring in big sales. According to GMDC, one of the paths to succeeding with seasonal general merchandise is using it to evoke the feeling of the season.

“When merchants excel in seasonal, they strike the right emotional notes with shoppers, and lift sales in key peak periods of the year,” the report said. When it comes to such seasons as spring and summer, this means capturing the feel of freedom that accompanies warmer weather and longer days. In terms of holidays, it means capturing the warmth of Valentine’s Day through displays, as well as the youthful energy of Easter and Passover.

With most of these holidays, appealing to shoppers still means one thing: candy. GMDC reported that candy is still the most commonly gifted item on Valentine’s day, with 83% of people giving it to their loved ones.

“We tie in what we know to be seasonally relevant,” Bi-Lo Holdings’ VP of general merchandise, Dewayne Rabon, told GMDC. “In January, when people resolve to eat smarter, we merchandise juicers, … [and] leading up to Cinco de Mayo in early May, when people will be fixing frozen drinks, we promote blenders at $19.99.”

Though Cinco de Mayo may be an appealing holiday for general merchandise, the report emphasizes cultural sensitivity surrounding Cinco de Mayo merchandise, noting that it’s more a time that “parts of America have co-opted as a simple, fun opportunity to party and drink” than a meaningful day for Hispanic shoppers.

While seasonal food items seem to make up the bulk of general merchandise purchases, that doesn’t mean non-food items should be pushed aside. GMDC’s paper cited Nielsen, which found that some 80% of shoppers in supermarkets purchase impulse items. The key to increasing these impulse buys, according to Brookshire Grocery category manager Scott Shapiro, is turning shopping into “a treasure hunt for customers.”

“We push the limits of assortment, and sales are up across the board,” Shapiro told GMDC. “People may see a seasonal mug one day and many different items the next day. This creates urgency in the shopper to buy today, because there’s no guarantee they’ll see the same item in the store again.”

Beyond creating urgency as an impetus to a possible impulse purchase, the GMDC report also pointed out the importance of emphasizing non-food items alongside food items. Using Easter as an example — though candy purchases in 2013 amounted to $2.2 billion — flowers and decorations together brought in that same amount. For Passover, such tabletop accessories as candles and paper products are displayed alongside candy that’s Kosher for Passover.

“Fun and function in our cross-merchandising moves the needle on non-foods acceptance at our chain,” a non-foods and pharmacy director at a northeastern supermarket chain told GMDC. “We don’t only do it seasonally; we do it year-round. … When we run cat food on sale, we also promote kitty toys on the front page of the circular and display the items nearby.”

Combining fun and function, a 7-Eleven in Fresno, Calif., allows children to borrow one of 200 books labeled by grade. They can return their borrowed book with a summary that is redeemed for a free hot chocolate or Slurpee, encouraging return trips.

The report also emphasized the need to promote seasonal merchandise through social media and promoting the store as the destination for seasonal needs — whether that’s grilling accessories for a successful Independence Day barbecue, or candy and gifts for Valentine’s Day. At Brookshire, Shapiro said tech-focused marketing has made a difference.

“We issue more seasonal non-foods deals via text and emails to frequent shopper cardholders,” he told GMDC. “We time these to the last week of major seasons to boost customer traffic and awareness, and we’ve seen benefits.”

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Cheetos intro mixes up category

BY Richard Monks

Since they debuted early last year, Frito-Lay’s Cheetos Mix-Ups have caught consumers’ attention and recorded phenomenal sales growth. IRI data shows that sales of the snack mix increased by more than 163% during the 12 months ended June 15.

(For the full report, including charts, click here.)

Offered in two flavors, Cheetos Mix-Ups blend four different shapes of the cheese puff snack. Cheetos Mix-Ups Xtra Cheezy Snack Mix combines Crunchy Cheddar, Puffs Double Cheddar, Nacho Cheese Grid-Shaped and Parmesan Mini-Puffs; while Cheetos Mix-Ups Cheezy Salsa Snack Mix combines Crunchy Salsa Picante, Puffs Cheddar, Chipotle Cheddar Grid-Shaped and Jalapeno Cheddar Mini-Puffs.

 

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