Woo early morning shoppers with front-of-store breakfast stations

By Margie Proctor
Hillphoenix Marketing & Design Specialist

No doubt about it, breakfast presents a big opportunity for retailers. Research shows that Americans increasingly consider breakfast to be an essential meal. However, 53% of consumers often skip breakfast, according to digital pollster Instantly.

The main reason is familiar: Consumers just don’t have time to prepare a meal, especially as they’re running out the door for work or school.

That’s where the opportunity lies for supermarkets: Serving up convenient, nutritious, portable breakfast foods can meet shoppers’ demand and drive sales at a typically slow part of the day. The key is merchandising for shopper convenience. Here are a few tips:

  • Put breakfast front and center. Make it simple for shoppers to start their day with you by creating a breakfast station at a centrally located, front-of-store endcap. You’ll need a refrigerated case and shelving for dry goods. Serving up hot coffee? You’ll also need some prep space for sugar, cream, etc. Use signage at your store entrance to guide shoppers to your breakfast spot. (If your store gets lunchtime traffic from nearby businesses, consider remerchandising your endcap around 10:45 a.m. with sandwiches and fresh cut veggies. Voila! A lunch station.)
  • Keep it portable. Consumers are skipping breakfast because it’s a challenge to squeeze in a meal when they’re rushing through the morning commute. Make sure you’re keeping it simple with handheld options like breakfast sandwiches or burritos and cups of fruit or yogurt that fit in a car’s cup holder. Don’t forget to supply the forks and spoons.
  • Please ‘em with protein. Whether you’re serving up hot or cold breakfast foods, make sure you’re offering the protein consumers crave — eggs, bacon, yogurt, smoothies, protein-enhanced bars and more.
  • Put fresh in the mix. Fresh-cut produce — from melon chunks to finger-food-worthy apple slices — is a sure thing at breakfast. But also offer uncut fruit that is easy to eat in the car, like bananas or whole organic apples.
  • Surprise shoppers. Try some unconventional fresh options for breakfast based on your shopper demographics. Would “Breakfast Guacamole” or “Hello Morning Hummus” served up with carrot, celery and jicama sticks or grain-rich bagels or crackers appeal to your customer crowd?
  • Juice it up. Fresh juices are the perfect option for busy customers who want to wear the “healthy halo” with no hassles. Plus, it’s a great way to promote your juicing station located elsewhere in the store.

Remember that early morning is not the time for deploying the usual strategies to draw customers deeper into the store. Make it easy for breakfast shoppers to run in, see what they want, buy it and get on with their day. They’ll be healthier, and your sales will be, too.

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