Saving the center store: 6 strategies for shopper engagement

By Harold Lloyd
Food Retail Industry Expert

Join Harold Lloyd for “Saving the Center Store” at Supermarket Sense 2016, Sept. 21-22 in Conyers, Georgia.

At the upcoming Supermarket Sense, happening just outside Atlanta on Sept. 21-22, I’ll explore ways to save the center store. Here’s a preview — six strategies for rebuffing online (and other) competition by revamping those long, boring aisles:

  1. Rethink lighting. Replace glaring, fluorescent bulbs with properly spaced LED lights that make packaging pop and guide shoppers down your “runway” of products.
  1. Cross-merchandise center store products throughout the store. For example, next to the apples in produce, add a sign: A tablespoon of peanut butter on a cup of apple slices provides 4.3 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of fiber and just 151 calories. Grab your favorite PB brand in Aisle 11.
  1. Similarly, use in-store reminders to prompt shoppers to buy center store products that may not be on their list — but should be. Don’t forget the shampoo, Aisle 6. Is it movie night? Grab popcorn on Aisle 15.
  1. Put product-oriented signs and coupons at perpendicular angles to the shelves, so they can be seen from either end of the aisle.
  1. Create impactful end caps. Put a clothes dryer with a sneaker inside it at the end of the detergent and fabric softener aisle. The noise will attract attention and shout “Laundry!” to every shopper.
  1. Give up shelf space to make room for fun, engaging merchandising. Add a banana cascade to the cereal aisle. Replace rows of low shelves with a bathtub filled with bars of soap. Set up a roving karaoke machine with center store themes: “American Pie,” “Brown Sugar,” “Tupelo Honey” — you get the idea — and invite shoppers to sing along.

I’ll talk more about ways to save the center store at Supermarket Sense. Come with questions, stories and creative ideas to share. See you there.

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