Promoting your full selection

14Jul08

Many grocery stores have started to place complementary items together, e.g. all the components you need to create a certain meal can be found in the same area. Perhaps the most common example of this is putting salsa near the tortilla chips, even though salsa normally appears in a different section entirely. Generally, this is helpful for shoppers and motivates them to spend more as well.

From what I can tell, these special food pairings are in addition to the usual organization of the aisles, so you can still find the items in their normal location. But it does present a problem: what if a shopper thinks the small display of a product is all the store carries? This is exactly what happened to me in a Trader Joe’s last weekend. A staff member pointed me to the chocolate chips that were displayed near the walnuts and pecans, and it was unclear what other sorts of chips they had elsewhere in the store — if they carried them at all.

It’s really easy to eliminate this confusion. All the store has to do is locate each place where a certain item is displayed outside its normal location. Then, put a little sign there that says something like “Find more chocolate chips and baking supplies in Aisle 4”. Aside from preventing any misconceptions about the larger selection available elsewhere in the store, this also provides a subtle motivation for shoppers to check out those other areas. With this simple modification, today’s meal and theme-based displays become even more productive, helping shoppers buy common food pairings and pointing them to broader selections when necessary.



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