ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bigger displays and more of them can't be beat when it comes to adding incremental sales, a group of merchandising experts said.
Cross merchandising with other departments also pays off in added sales, they said.
The experts included Sheri Mierau, California Tree Fruit Commission, Reedley, Calif.; Dick Spezzano, Spezzano Consulting, Monrovia, Calif.; Tim Stejskal, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Modesto, Calif.; and Mary Christ-Erwin, Porter-Novelli Public Relations, Washington, D.C.
The sheer size of a display has a tremendous effect on sales, Mierau noted.
"We found that giving your display just 1% additional space can increase your [sales] dollars by about 19%," she said. "Secondary displays help, too."
Spezzano, a veteran of the supermarket business, observed that club stores increased their grape sales by 30% once they switched from four-pound bags to four-pound clamshells, partially because the rigid packaging enabled them to stack the product high, creating a stand-out display.
"For supermarkets, it's two-pounders," he said. "It's not just grapes. That two-pounder [clamshell] is one of the leading strawberry items now in supermarkets."
Describing the effective use of baskets, Dole's Stejskal showed a slide of steeply stacked multi-colored peppers and pointed out that while it looked beautiful, Dole's researchers found consumers were afraid of toppling the display. The problem was solved with the use of large baskets to hold different-colored peppers.
Additional displays, in or outside the department, push sales up dramatically, he said. "We've put 145 Dole secondary coolers [in the produce department] in some stores, and we're seeing better than 25% sales lifts," he said. "The coolers cost $3,000 to $5,000, but they're seeing 150% [return on investment] within a year on those displays."
Outside the produce department, add-on promotional deals are working.
"Meal deal concepts seem to be catching fire throughout the country. For instance, buy a [rotisserie] chicken, and you get salad," Stejskal said.