What is in this article?:
- Seafood Made Simple for the Customer
- Point-of-Purchase Information
Through value-added offerings, education and cross-merchandising, retailers focus on making seafood as easy to buy and prepare as possible.
Demonstrations and tastings of easy-to-prepare seafood dishes illustrate to customers how convenient seafood can be and how quickly it can go from the refrigerator to the table.
PCC provides cooking information and recipes in its store newspaper, magazine, website and classes. And while PCC includes some complex recipes, “we do talk about how easy [seafood] can be to cook,” Penberthy said. “We try to alleviate people’s fears about fish by offering simple recipes that they can cook at home.”
Town & Country runs regular culinary demonstrations in all five of its stores at least once a week, so customers can taste the seafood and get ideas for dinner. King said these classes are highly impactful on customers.
And while these live demonstrations are easy for customers to access, Town & Country makes it more convenient still: The culinary demonstrations are available on the retailer’s website, including videos that show how to debone salmon, how to clean and store mussels, and how to make grilled salmon salad with raspberry vinaigrette.
Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop, a consulting firm in Barrington, Ill., pointed out that tastings and demos “create interest, excitement and traffic that stimulate shoppers well beyond the sampled/demoed items.”
Plus, communicating with customers verbally and with printed materials is essential, he said.
“So, POS combined with service department personnel ‘coaching’ does the best job of all,” he explained.
“That said, it’s more likely that POS will offer the right message consistently for most retailers unless they have superior training and very knowledgeable and engaged in-store associates,” he added.
Bringing in products from other departments to the seafood department can also make shopping and cooking for dinner convenient and fast for customers.
“Seafood is the least visited perishable counter so anything you can do to get more penetration in the category is good,” said McMillan Doolittle’s Stern. “The retailers who are really well put together, value add and put it all in the same area so the customer can easily shop and see what options are available.”
To this end, Caputo’s puts a lot of focus on cross-merchandising techniques.
The stores’ displays include marinated fillets, smoked fish, fresh limes, lemons, bell peppers, wines, breadings, seasonings, herbs and accessories such as wooden skewers for kabobs.
“If you’re aggressive with your merchandising your sales will stay steady,” Fantauzzo said.
Caputo’s even uses its ads to cross-merchandise and make shopping easier to plan. The seafood portion of the print ad includes a photo of a bottle of wine that pairs well with the promoted fish.
“It does fairly well and gets customers to try wines they would not have normally,” Fantauzzo said.
United Supermarkets cross-merchandises grocery items, spices, sauces and dips.
Nettles said United offers nonfood department items in the seafood department, like thermometers, skewers, crab leg cracking tools, shrimp deveining tools and oyster knives.
“We have extensive wine and beer offerings in the department to pair with any seafood dish — many of our team members are well versed in wines and will suggest parings,” said Nettles.
“We offer items to help with special occasions like cedar planks for grill fillets and smoker bags for smoking the fish — team members are also informed and excited to speak about these items that take the meal over the top.”
PCC recently had success with offering the cookbook “Good Fish” by local author Becky Selengut.
“We were hesitant to bring in Becky’s book because we have such limited space in our departments, but they’ve flown off the shelves and we’ve had to reorder several times,” said Penberthy. The cookbook likely also helps sell seafood, she added.