Whether it's pasta, salad dressing, soup or wine, grocery products play an important role in solution selling.
That's because the concept involves bundling all items needed for a specific meal occasion, such as pasta, sauce, garlic bread, salad fixings and salad dressing, along with recipe cards and serving tips, according to "Solution Selling," a new report based on a study sponsored by the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers of America and Andersen Consulting, Chicago, in cooperation with the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, and the Association of Sales and Marketing Cos., Reston, Va.
While they may sound the same, cross merchandising and solution selling are different. Cross merchandising involves individual items, such as lettuce and salad dressing, while solution selling involves a variety of products grouped in one location.
"There is a fine line between cross merchandising and solution selling. They are first cousins. A lot of education goes into a solution until consumers catch on," Jackie Legg, vice president of solution shopping at Ukrop's Super Markets, Richmond, Va., says in the report. The study included Ukrop's "What's for Dinner Tonight?" program, in which a special section of the store offers everything needed to make a meal in 15 minutes, even a recipe card.
Like cross merchandising, though, solution selling spurs impulse sales.
"You definitely pick up impulse sales. It's a fact," Bob Jennings, beverage buyer for Raley's Supermarkets, West Sacramento, Calif., says in the report.
The report also outlines Raley's "Cooking Made Easy" solution, a program in its meat departments that features six varieties of fresh pasta with meat sauce as well as Turning Leaf wine from Ernest & Julio Gallo. The pasta offers a peel-off coupon for Fresh Express salads.