Cross promoting videos with other items in the store is one area where supermarkets have a clear advantage over other classes of trade. Unfortunately, the industry has had mixed results in implementing such programs.
In this year's video roundtable, participants share their success stories in promoting and cross promoting sell-through with related products. Laura Fisher, video coordinator and merchandising associate at Martin's Super Markets, South Bend, Ind., told of her company's aggressive efforts.
"We have done a lot with titles like 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Hercules,' especially when they have offers with grocery items. We put those on our front wall. We build displays and decorate them. We have a very, very creative art department, and the big displays do very, very well," she said. Such displays will do three or four times the volume of a typical shipper, Fisher added.
Seaway Food Town, Maumee, Ohio, is stepping up its efforts to cross merchandise videos and related products, along with generally increasing its sell-through program, noted Darlene Kiefer, services coordinator. For example, the retailer plans to cross promote both a Rugrats program and the upcoming Disney Mickey Mouse movie. Both cross promotions involve cereal. "Cereal seems to be the product that works the best with video," she said.
"Many times when we do a big push behind a title, we will go all out," said Bob Gettner, video buyer and coordinator at B & R Stores, Lincoln, Neb. Big events staged around sell-through titles draw lots of parents and their children into the stores, he said. "Whether or not we sell 50 or 60 copies of something, we always look at it from the traffic perspective."
But cross promotions still don't work for many retailers. "I never really have felt the value of cross promotions," said Bill Glaseman, video specialist at Bashas' Markets, Phoenix. Glaseman, who has long run the rental program at Bashas', only recently became involved in sell-through. But he said the retailer did little cross merchandising in the past.
Gettner: One area where our video program is not all that it can be is cross promotions. We try to coordinate tie-ins with the release of a movie, especially with groceries. We've gotten better at it, but we still have a long way to go. For instance, our company could be a little more aggressive working with vendors. I've had very few vendors ever approach me about cross merchandising or cross promoting their product with a movie. We're working harder with the vendors to do more cross merchandising -- to get promotional prizes to give away, as well as display materials.
Glaseman: I never really have felt the value of cross promotions. I have just been recently become involved with buying the sell-through, so I haven't even addressed any of the cross promotions, and we never did much with it before I took over.
Fisher: We have done a lot with titles like "The Little Mermaid" and "Hercules," especially when they have offers with grocery items. We put those on our front wall. We build displays and decorate them. We have a very, very creative art department, and the big displays do very, very well.
Fisher: Definitely. With the big display vs. a little shipper, I would say it doubles, if not triples, our sales.
Fisher: Take a video line like "VeggieTales." There are tons of things you can do with that, especially with the produce department. There are a lot of movies out there that we can cross promote with grocery items and build displays. Customers tend to buy more when we put promotions together like that. If a movie is being cross promoted with Pepsi, we'll do something with them, or we'll get together with a vendor like General Mills if they are tying in with a movie. We will put the funds together and merchandise them together.
Fisher: We get a fair amount of support from the vendors. We put the displays together and ask them for what we need in dollars and promotional materials, and they are usually pretty good about getting that for us.
Kiefer: We have tried very few cross promotions, but I feel that it could help create interest and excitement if we could do it properly. We did take part in one cross promotion last year with "The Borrowers" and the "Barney" movie. We had cereal bowls that we gave to customers who bought both the tape and the cereal. In some of the Food Towns, they actually put the video on an endcap along with the cereal, and they sold quite a few. I know they are going to try one with the new Disney Mickey Mouse movie that is coming out, and then there is a Rugrats cross promotion with cereal. Cereal seems to be the product that works the best with video.
Kiefer: If we can get them the information in time for them to talk to their people -- if they are aware of it and we can work it out -- they seem to be willing to work with it.
Gettner: Many times when we do a big push behind a title, we will go all out. We'll get prizes to give away. I have one manager with a lot of the Disney products. She will go all out and get costumes done up of the characters that are in the movie, and she will make a two- or three-hour event for kids to come in. She'll provide games, and it's a terrific draw to the store. Whether or not we sell 50 or 60 copies of something, we always look at it from the traffic perspective. If we bring all these moms and dads into the store, they might pick up a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk that they may have gone somewhere else to buy. We've done some real successful promotions and usually get a very good turnout.
SN: Besides the national packaged-goods cross promotions, what other opportunities are there for video tie-ins in supermarkets?
Kiefer: If we could develop something like a dinner-and-a-movie type thing in the supermarkets, especially if they have prepared meals that customers come in after work to buy, it would be great to be able to rent them a movie at the same time. We just haven't been able to figure out logistically how to do that, but that would be great.