Supermarkets are losing kids' video sales if titles are contained solely within the video rental department, according to a new study by Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.
The best place to merchandise children's titles is actually away from other videos -- outside of the video department, out in the main selling area of the store, the study found. Grocers who've taken the tip, according to Bill Bryant, vice president of sales, grocery and drug, have seen a 40% boost or greater in sales.
"Preferably, the titles should be placed next to the cash register -- for two reasons," said Bryant. "First, it makes the product highly visible to both consumers and store employees, which helps eliminate shrinkage. And second, the kids see it there, too. If the child sees it and wants it, a discussion happens between the kid and the parent, who is now being pressured to buy the product. The sales pitch begins."
The Ingram study noted that 90% of all foot traffic that enters a supermarket does not go into the video department. The national average of those who will rent or purchase a video in a grocery store is about 10%, which, Bryant notes, is actually a good number.
"If 10% of all consumers who enter a grocery store go to the video department to get something, that's a pretty healthy video department," he said. "But when a big sell-through title is confined solely to that department, 90% of the customers are missing it."
He noted, too, that children aren't typically attracted to a video department -- most grocery store video departments cater to adult audiences. Most video departments, too, aren't configured in a way that allows consumers to bring in a grocery cart, thus deterring them from browsing even more.
So is the checkout a store's only hot spot? Jenny Maddox, director of video advertising and marketing, WaxWorks, Owensboro, Ky., agreed that it's a great place for kidvid titles, but so are some other high-traffic areas, like the meat department.
"It's so simple, but what sells children's video in grocery stores is placement," she said. "Children's titles should be in the main action alleys, near checkout or near the meat department, or even the dairy or bread sections -- the aisles everyone goes to."
She said that should grocers opt to keep kidvid titles strictly in their video departments, there are ways to merchandise them there as well. First, have activities for the kids, such as a table with a box of Lego pieces, and second, play a children's title on the video monitor.
"A mom will appreciate being able to see a portion of a movie before she buys it," Maddox said. "She'll also appreciate that her child is being occupied while she browses for other video titles."
Video departments can also draw more attention to their children's offerings by putting Christmas lights around a poster touting a new kidvid title, or by grouping titles by a theme. For example, to draw attention to Disney's "Dinosaur," other movies with a dinosaur or jungle theme can be grouped with it.
"We've seen great success with this type of thing," she said. "People are already in the grocery store for so many different purposes. You just want to do something that will catch all eyes."
But to catch children's eyes, those titles have to be where the kids themselves can see them -- at their eye level, according to Steve Scavelli, president of Flash Electronics, Brooklyn, N.Y.
"Yes, these titles have to be near the checkout, but if they're at an adult eye level, the kids won't be looking that high," he said.
Scavelli said he's also seen grocery retailers have success with special promotions, like a Kids Day event. "Depending on the neighborhood and size of the store, we recommend to our customers that they occasionally do things like bring in a petting zoo or have a little carnival where you give out helium balloons.
"Events like these are a great opportunity to give away premium items, too, like the free T-shirts grocers get to promote certain titles."
Food retailers have the ability, too, he said, to sell children's videos for a lot less than their competition and to do in-store cross promotions.
"It's easy for a grocery store to run a promo that offers consumers a free video when they purchase a certain amount of grocery items. It's a little easier for them to do these types of promos, as opposed to specialty dealers, because people have to buy food anyway. They're going into that store regardless."
But what about smaller independents? Will these ideas work for them as well?
Dale Cooper, buyer for rack-jobber The Movie Exchange, Oaks, Pa., said that at smaller stores, aisle space is at a premium, which means that a shipper near the checkout isn't going to work, particularly if all of those videos aren't likely to sell. His solution? Get a fixture that can hold anywhere from 100 to 600 pieces, and stock it with a wide variety of children's product. Don't focus on pushing just one title.
"This is particularly great for stores that don't have a designated in-line video department," he said. "It allows grocers to put a wide variety of children's video in a prime area in the store without taking up a lot of space. It's been tremendously successful for our customers."