Skip navigation
Grocery Can Steal From Perishables' Playbook

Grocery Can Steal From Perishables' Playbook

Retailers who focus on Center Store are looking far and wide for models to grow sales despite a tough economy and extreme retail competition.

But good models are sometimes only feet away and under the same store roof.

I'm referring to supermarket perishables departments, in particular the in-store bakery. This is a department worth analyzing as the grocery industry this week gathers in Colorado Springs for the annual Grocery Manufacturers Association Executive Conference.

Here are some strategies that emerged from a recent roundtable discussion by in-store bakery executives published by Modern Baking, a sister publication of SN at parent company Penton Media:

Attracting Shoppers: Retailers in charge of in-store bakeries have a wonderfully high confidence level in the power of their products and strategies to drive traffic and sales.

Based on comments in the roundtable, here's the basic thinking of these executives: Once we get shoppers into the department, they will generally buy. Once we get product into their mouth, they will most probably come back to purchase more.

Wouldn't it be great if the grocery side could feel this confident? What would it take to accomplish this? My guess is a combination of destination strategies and sampling would really help. It's worth thinking about.

Communicating Value: In-store bakeries are identified with theater and aroma, but they also practice winning strategies on the pricing/value front.

One executive said the trick is to offer deep discounts on a few items rather than sales on a wide range of products.

Another retailer said that when a promotional item is removed from deep discount, it's best to return it to original price in stages rather than all at once, in order to “avert sticker shock.”

Retaining Quality: Those running in-store bakeries understand that in the face of cost pressures and shifting trends, quality had better not suffer.

“I don't think … anybody wants to touch their quality, that's the cornerstone of their business,” said one. “It's a very slippery slope once you start to try to save costs.”

Another participant stressed the paramount importance of retaining indulgence in bakery products.

Center Store sometimes seems to be located miles away from in-store bakeries and other perishables departments. But it's really right next door and needs to become more familiar with its neighbors.