Space is a key factor in a supermarket's decision to increase its snack items or to employ new video-related merchandising ideas.
k of space keeps the retailer from maximizing the opportunity to cross merchandise video and snacks, said Paula Schneider, customer-service director. So far tie-in snack displays have been minimal, with popcorn and candy bars most frequently used, often on tables in front of the video departments, she said.
"The reason for the small amount of snacks is the lack of space," said Schneider. "There's just not much room to merchandise. But this will probably increase, because we do need to do something to increase our video revenues."
Supporting video with snack items is a key merchandising strategy, she said. "We need to do something with our video departments to get more sales.
"The grocery store is not a destination place for video. If somebody wants a new release title, they'll go to a video store that has 50 copies. In our supermarkets, video is really an impulse item, so I feel we need to make a fuller commitment to it," she said. At Buehler, snack-food prices in video are the same as the snack items sold elsewhere in the stores. Sales credit goes to the grocery department, not to video, she said.
Snack-food merchandising in video "all comes down to space, the way each store is laid out, and how much room they can devote to these things," noted Ron McMillin, executive vice president and general manager of Video Partners, Draper, Utah.
"Supermarkets have very little space. They don't have room for a lot of cardboard. But video snacks are a nice add-on, and it's a good margin item for the stores when they're able to do it," said McMillin.
Video Home Theater, a Des Moines, Iowa-based company that leases video-rental programs to supermarkets, is thinking about adding snack foods to its video fare. "We've considered it, but it's hard to say if it will work," said Cliff Mitchell, the firm's buyer and director of operations. "At this point, we don't have any merchandised racks associated with video departments. Space is at such a premium in grocery stores, I don't know if they'll be willing to give up more. We deal with a lot of smaller independent stores whose space is even at that much more of a premium than some of your larger chains. A small counter display with some candy may be a possibility."
The Town & Country Supermarket in West Allis, Wis., has had videos in its store for about seven years. Video manager Bobbie Abelt makes all the decisions regarding snack sales in video. "The amount and variety of the snacks we sell haven't really changed over the years," she said, "but the displays have altered somewhat. Colors have changed, and we've got the displays hanging by a chain from above, as well as visible beneath a clear counter." All snack sales are credited to the market's video department, she noted.