RETAILERS TOLD TO MAP WHOLE HEALTH COURSE IN CENTER STORE

DENVER -- Retailers must develop a comprehensive whole health strategy to maximize sales in the Center Store, according to Jim Wisner, president of Wisner Retail Marketing/MarketHealth, Libertyville, Ill.At the recent Whole Health Marketing and Retail Strategies Conference here, Wisner led a session outlining a methodical approach toward whole health programs, and advised retailers to concentrate

DENVER -- Retailers must develop a comprehensive whole health strategy to maximize sales in the Center Store, according to Jim Wisner, president of Wisner Retail Marketing/MarketHealth, Libertyville, Ill.

At the recent Whole Health Marketing and Retail Strategies Conference here, Wisner led a session outlining a methodical approach toward whole health programs, and advised retailers to concentrate on a point of difference.

"Information and services is how we see many companies differentiating themselves," said Wisner. "The right mix of products is the first step, but then you have to allow consumers to use these products effectively."

The workshop revolved around five essential steps, beginning with a thorough assessment of the market and translating that into a well-defined strategic plan. The next step is to create a wellness-centered organization, involving employee training and establishing storewide commitment.

Wisner feels that one of the most crucial steps is educating the consumer, particularly in the center aisles.

"There is a very large demand for in-store consumer information," explained Wisner. "Center Store signage programs are relatively lacking today. Consumers find nutritional information in produce and HBC, but there is definitely an informational void in the Center Store that the industry needs to fill."

Retailers must also focus on merchandising, such as using power item endcaps for popular grocery items like soymilk.