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Engaging the 'entertaining' shopper through total store connectivity

Engaging the 'entertaining' shopper through total store connectivity

Not all shopping trips are created equal. Some are of the weekly stock-up variety, while others are quick trips for purchasing just a few items. And then we have the entertaining shopper, the individual whose mission is to select products for a special occasion, such as a holiday get-together, a family event or maybe just having friends over to watch a sporting event.

Depending on the occasion, shopper behavior varies widely in terms of the types of products purchased. An understanding of the correlations that exist between products store-wide — in essence, the likelihood of certain food categories purchased together on the same shopping trip — can help retailers elevate their cross-merchandising tactics, resulting in more sales. The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) commissioned Nielsen Fresh to assist in developing its latest original research, Total Store Connectivity: Entertaining Across the Store, to examine the natural connections that exist among products often purchased for entertaining purposes.

Let’s take a look at premium entertaining events, such as a small-scale Christmas gathering or weekend formal dinner. For these events, shoppers are likely to purchase more premium items, such as steak, shrimp and specialty deli meats and cheeses. These categories share common connections with bakery bread as well as produce, such as berries, tomatoes, mushrooms and value-added vegetables. From a cross-merchandising perspective, retailers could consider a sampling station of deli specialty meat and cheese and artisan bread or deli crackers in the produce department in the evening to entice shoppers searching for dinner and cocktail party food ideas.

Another occasion that falls into the entertaining category is seasonal holidays, whereby shoppers are making purchases for large gatherings of family and friends. Among the item categories most likely to be purchased by these shoppers are bakery rolls, nuts, fresh roast pork and bakery pies. What sets this occasion apart from the others is that these categories have a high connection to categories across the entire store, including coffee, deli pre-sliced meat and disposable dishes. This correlation provides retailers with a perfect significant opportunity to merchandise and promote these products together in-store that not only adds convenience to shoppers already purchasing these products together (some shoppers are planning weeks out for a holiday gathering), but also those who may have been thinking about them.

In addition to in-store cross-merchandising through displays and messaging, utilizing other marketing channels and techniques — such as suggesting meal pairing options and sharing recipes on social media — is also an excellent way to engage shoppers.

Entertaining shoppers are on a mission when they enter your store. Help them achieve it with pairing ideas and concepts.

For more information on Total Store Connectivity: Entertaining Across the Store, visit

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