Wheels and Deals

Progressive Grocer|March 2020

Wheels and Deals
Mobile merchandisers and display equipment can make for happier retail holidays.
Bob Ingram

The seasons of celebration are perfect opportunities for supermarkets to drive incremental sales, making mobile merchandisers and display equipment a strategic investment for grocery retailers.

“We have had success with seasonal meal planning that makes it convenient for our customers to purchase several meal options merchandised together,” says Terri Bennis, chief marketing officer at Woodbury, Minn.based independent grocery chain Kowalski’s Markets. “Our customers look for these meal solutions and sometimes even call the stores to ask what is on display in the merchandisers during that week.”

For example, Kowalski’s might team up Skuna Bay salmon in a display with a Korean kalbi marinade, a side dish and a salad.

Kowalski’s recently started building all of its produce fixtures on wheels, which Bennis says provides “a ton of flexibility” for seasonal merchandising and special events like the retailer’s farmers’ market.

Key Takeaways

Supermarkets’ seasonal sales can be highlighted by the use of mobile merchandisers and display equipment.

These items’ small footprint, easy construction, convenience and versatility make them must-haves for retailers that wish to spotlight items or cross merchandise product throughout the store.

Many suppliers work directly with retailers on customized solutions.

“We also introduced a mobile hot unit for our hibachi program,” she says of the program that allows shoppers to order a customized entree from their choice of protein, vegetables and sauce. “The customer can build their own [entree] and wait [for it to be prepared], or grab one from the hot unit that is ready to go. We have seen a significant increase in sales by having them merchandised and ready to go in a mobile hot merchandiser.”

    Kowalski’s uses small mobile barker units for many refrigerated cross merchandising displays that highlight exclusive signature items.

    “We have recently found metro racking on wheels to be very effective for specialty displays. It is convenient for the customer, because it keeps the product upright and easy to shop,” Bennis says. “For additional holding power during holiday sell weeks, we convert a portion of our salad bars into holiday side displays to keep up with the demand for proprietary holiday items.”

    Building the Basket

    Meanwhile, at Karns Foods, in Mechanicsburg, Pa., mobile merchandisers allow the eight-store chain to introduce unique, sale or complementary products to key categories throughout the store. “Through mobile merchandisers, Karns is able to make a big impact in a small footprint,” says VP of Sales and Marketing Andrea Karns.

    Mobile merchandisers allow Karns to pull center store products into perishable departments. Typically, these merchandisers are used to highlight specialty or local products that connect with these departments.

    “The use ranges from a local wing sauce in the meat department to fruit crisp toppings in the produce department,” Karnes explains. “Each merchandiser gives Karns the opportunity to build the basket while offering a winning product.”

    Hot and Cold Solutions

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    March 2020