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Selling Total Solutions

Selling Total Solutions

At least three of the exhibitors I spoke to on the show floor today talked up new or updated programs designed to sell umbrella coverage of the entire sales process. That includes not only a product, but merchandising materials, customization options and even "technical" advice if the item is finished at the store level, whether slacked out in the deli or baked off in the ISB.

Wait. Hasn't this always been the goal of any manufacturer? It used to be called after-sale support, but I suppose that the initiatives we're talking about here have outgrown such a narrow definition. What we're talking about here is "total-sale support from delivery to consumer sale."

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At Kehe Foods, the distributor just partnered with New York's famous Artisinal Premium Cheese to launch a boxed cheese program that combines retailer and consumer education, suggested wine pairings (great upsell potential for stores with an alcohol license), and standard-weight fine cheeses that literally speak for themselves. No monger required.

The program has been picked up by Schnuck Markets and Jewel, with another regional retailer in the Southwest ready to sign on.

The fine cheeses are grouped into four flavor profiles: Mild, Medium, Bold and Strong. Each is fresh-sealed and placed in a box tinted with a color that corresponds to one of the four groups. Each box is printed with proper pronunciations of the cheese, its history and serving suggestions. Each cheese comes with a identifying tag (shown above) that consumers put on the cheese when it's served — a classy touch. Luckily for retailers, the effort extends beyond the cheese case to finding the perfect wine: Neck tags that are included in the program are color-coded so that consumers can easily match the color of the cheese box to the color of the neck tag.

For us Gen-Xers, it reminds one of Garanimals.