HIGHLAND, Ind. -- Strack & Van Til has remerchandised its j-hooked kitchen gadgets sections, shifting to a single brand, expanding variety and improving clip-strip packaging. Under new planograms, overlapping products were dropped. As a result, the mix was changed from several lines to a single Ekco brand.
During the product revamping, the chain was careful to select items different from those carried in the regular kitchen housewares section. The new clip strip program "is incremental business that might have gone to the mass merchandisers," said Joe Kolavo, buyer supervisor of general merchandise and health and beauty care. The planogram replaced shelf schematics supplied by a former service merchandiser that had supplied the gadgets assortment. Between 150 and 500 J-hooked and clip stripped gadgets have carding that is different from those in the in-line Ekco kitchen gadgets section.
"The uniform white carding with a blue background creates a better impression than the [several] different brands we had in our former program," Kolavo said. Although the total number of stockkeeping units has remained unchanged, they are now placed more strategically throughout the store in the most closely related food aisle. For instance, apple corers are located near apples in produce and garlic presses are displayed near the garlic display.
"The potato peeler or can opener, for example, is different from those carried in our regular 8- to 16-foot wider gadgets section. This allows us to track the movement of the different items from their respective display positions," said Kolavo. Kolavo said the new schematic gives customers a chance to find an item they might have missed while passing the 16-foot run of kitchen gadgets located at housewares.
"This is all high-impulse merchandise that isn't price-sensitive," Kolavo said, adding that it carries 30% to 50% margins.
Retails start out at 40 to 50 cents for small plastic lid covers for dog and cat food cans and go up to $5 for a garlic presser, he added.
The retailer is supplied with the gadgets in a fully racked program by its wholesaler, Supervalu, Champaign, Ill.
Stores receive two to four deliveries per week of tote containers picked and shipped with clip strip replacement items by store location. The totes come on the same truck with health and beauty care orders, Kolavo said. The 350 different gadgets now available for the program have virtually eliminated most duplications.
For instance, under the previous program, the same peeler or can opener was offered at more than one location just to fill out the clip strips or J hooks, he said.
Under the new planogram, straws, one of the faster moving general merchandise products at supermarkets, are placed in five or six different locations in different varieties.
"There might be a kids' swirly straw, a package of regular straws and another choice in a flexible style. This way, you're not running the very same package in front of your customers more than once," said the retailer. There's also a larger selection of can openers. "While we still offer them at three or four spots, they are in varied styles and price points, from a bare bones to an upscale style, to offer customers several options," Kolavo said. According to Kolavo, cross-promoting small kitchen gadgets and tools apart from the mainstream department focuses attention on the items. He said the clip stripping and J-hooking of gadgets, which has evolved as a mainstay of housewares merchandising at supermarkets over time, can generate extra sales that even doubling the regular section usually cannot.
"A gadgets section twice the size, such as 26 to 24 feet, can become too cluttered. Customers won't take the time to go through it," he said.