As a grocery store manager, you can leverage your vendors’ expertise to display your products and hone your point-of-sale techniques. Not every supplier has the means to provide expert merchandising advice to your staff. So, if you’re considering using a private label manufacturer for your own brand, a vendor with a merchandising team can be a huge advantage.
Why Is Merchandising Important?
Merchandising is how products are presented in a store. It encompasses prices, displays, store layout, signage and promotional events to drive marketing at the point of sale. It’s the difference between making a sale and having a customer leave in frustration.
Part of merchandising is displaying products in a way that’s easy to find. In the case of bread, you would probably keep most bread, no matter the brand or type, in the in-store bakery or commercial bakery aisle. The section could have a sign listing the kind of bread you offer.
Within the bread aisle, you’d keep types and brand names together in a way that makes sense, such as private label English muffins next to the brand-name ones. All the labels would be facing the same direction, so customers can scan the labels. Another part of your merchandising strategy might place specialty sandwich buns near the deli counter. The goal is to make it easy for a shopper to find the kind of bread they want without too much effort.
All merchandising, whether you offer a promotional event or place items on a shelf where customers are most likely to see them, contributes to your marketing efforts. It creates less friction for the customer and lets you sell more products.
What Is a Merchandising Team?
A merchandising team has many distinct roles. They analyze sales data, handle restocking, create enticing displays and handle point of sale marketing. Retailers once hired in-house specialists to take care of these activities. Now, it is more efficient to work with the merchandising teams provided by your manufacturers. Many of your suppliers will work alongside your internal team to organize merchandise. They might give you instructions for promotional displays or even analyze your sales data for the products they supply.
A merchandising team will handle all these functions with expertise in their own products. For example, the merchandising team can organize your product displays based on their experience merchandising their products across many stores. They can offer promotion ideas and category management expertise specific to their products.
What Can a Merchandising Team Do for You?
A merchandising team will be experts in both the world of retail merchandising and their own products. They support your store through many critical services.
- Training: A sales manager can provide personnel training at your location. They’ll teach your staff to restock shelves and track inventory as well as critical skills to maximize sales.
- Planograms: A planogram, or a shelf space plan, is a tool for visual merchandising. The diagram lays out where retail products will go and the number of facings each product should have. They can also be used for the entire store layout. These schematics use sales data to plan the most profitable arrangement for the shelf space you have.
- Category management: A category manager groups similar products into a category. They also work on the procurement, sales and merchandising of the category as a whole. Category management is useful when selling convenience goods because demand transfer is high. For example, if a customer needs sliced wheat bread and one brand is unavailable, they will probably buy a different brand of wheat bread. A category manager analyzes spend, understands the market and makes changes and improvements to the category.
- Events and promotions: An experiential marketer can organize promotional events specific to those products. They can organize product demonstrations, point of sale decor and weekly sales.
- Ordering merchandise: Your merchandising team can visit every week to reorder merchandise and organize your inventory. They’ll help you decide what to order based on recent sales trends. Weekly visits ensure you have enough product to meet demand without letting stock go to waste.
3 Reasons a Merchandising Team Can Be Good for Your Store
A merchandising team can offer you several key advantages. Your partners can help you maximize your profits and create a better experience for your customers in many ways.
1. Appeal to Customers
Effective merchandising is visually striking. It makes the store appear clean and organized, and the products look attractive. It can increase foot traffic to particular aisles, which in turn increases sales. It guides customers in finding items they need and makes customers more satisfied with their shopping experience so they’ll want to come again.
2. Increase Sales
Merchandising deals with pricing, displaying and packaging products to make them appealing to customers. It can also involve weekly deals and promotional signage that drives sales. Merchandising can make a product appear more luxurious or more cost-effective, which can both influence buying decisions.
You can also sell more products using a technique called “cross-merchandising” to place similar products from different categories together. This approach reminds shoppers of other items they mean to buy and encourages basket-building. One strategy is to use a display to demonstrate a complete package of products. For example, a summer barbecue display could feature hotdog and hamburger buns alongside grilling tools, disposable dishware and a cooler full of sodas.
Another cross-merchandising method is to use secondary placement, where items from different categories go on the same shelves or aisles. It saves customers time and encourages them to buy more of their groceries in one place. Some examples would be peanut butter in the commercial bakery aisle or Italian bread near the butter and margarine section.
3. Increase Productivity
When you organize products well, customers can shop without assistance. Strong organization frees up employees to work on other duties, whether it’s helping customers who need extra assistance or restocking shelves.
Data-driven merchandising maximizes sales and profits for your store’s existing square footage. By increasing your sales per square foot and grouping add-on products to encourage impulse buys, your store becomes more productive. You can also find the optimal pricing that allows you to sell products at the highest profit margin.
Relationship Building With Your Store
By using merchandising teams, you can build a robust relationship with your vendors. Sales representatives will come to your store weekly to discuss your orders and help you plan your merchandising strategy. They offer a wealth of knowledge about their products and provide you with a direct line to your vendor. They act as a partner to help you improve your store and pride themselves on the relationships they build with your team.
A Private Label Support Team for Any Questions You May Have
Merchandising teams offer extensive training for your in-store personnel. When you work with a private label manufacturer, they are your experts in their products and can answer any questions you or your staff have.
When you work with the Gold Medal Bakery for your private label bread, you can even bring your team to our factory for training and tours.
Since we manufacture our own bread, we know everything about our product to help you inform customers on the sales floor. You can also have a sales representative at your store to answer questions directly from your customers.
Take Advantage of Gold Medal Bakery’s Merchandising Team
Since we are a family-owned business with over 100 years of experience, our first responsibility is to our valued customers. That’s why we offer the personal service of our Gold Medal Bakery merchandising team.
We have an experienced staff that can be in your store weekly to handle planograms, category management and sales. We can train your bread clerks and staff in-store and help you manage reorders, organizing the bakery department and weekly promotions. We’re also more than happy to help you select which items to carry and set up product demonstrations.