Food Forum: An 8-step plan to refresh your store

From painting walls to introducing new décor and signage, here are some things that retailers can do right now to improve sales.

By Norbert Nebe, president and creative director of Resonantz

Consumers remain conservative in their spending habits and their shopping patterns are still unpredictable. Retailers need to look for new instruments within their sales environment to excite their customers and create opportunities.

A good place to start is by evaluating the sales environment itself. What can be done to improve the look and feel of a store without a major overhaul? We call this a “bright and shine” approach. Here is an eight-point strategy for supermarket retailers to build an improved connection with their customers.

1. Make the remodeling an event. Announcing the upcoming change with overhead posters throughout the store will create great sales opportunities. Use themes such as “Coming soon,” “We will introduce you to a new world of shopping,” “Look for remodeling specials on every aisle, ” etc. A retailer should introduce the campaign weeks before the remodeling process starts and take all materials down right at the beginning of the actual remodeling process, which will usually take not more than two weeks to finish. Since a “bright and shine” concept does not involve equipment purchases, new lighting or major resets, it is very economical.

2. Energize employees. A retailer should take into consideration that an economical “bright and shine” remodel has a positive impact on employees promising through the process a commitment to an attractive work place. The retailer has the chance to create “talking points” for employees to address questions from customers.

3. Incorporate into advertising. Weekly Wednesday advertising is, for most supermarket retailers, still their basic go-to tool to promote products and services. This medium should be used during the remodeling process to inform customers and employees alike, about the strategy to where the store will be positioned in the future, and what to expect from a newly designed environment. The flexibility of the retailer’s website should be involved in the strategy to reinforce the message during the process and deliver in accordance with the in-store campaign and flyer messages the same images to reinforce the appearance and strategy.

4. Outline the design process. A retailer should provide to the designer floor plans, demographics of his customer base and photographs of the interior of the existing store. Design companies can work within these parameters and deliver the appropriate solutions. It is important for the retailer and the designers to come to a basic understanding as to where the retailer wants to take the look of his store.

5. Move toward implementation. After the design concept has been completed and the retailer is in agreement with the result, material samples will usually be submitted. At this point a retailer has the chance to make any necessary adjustments. The manufacturing process of the design components to be installed, depending on the complexity of materials, colors, size of the components, etc. is usually a matter of four to six weeks. During this time a design company expects the supermarket retailer have the existing decor and signage components removed from the walls.

6. Focus on center store. Vendor support for a remodeling event will be mainly provided in the center store. The supermarket retailer has in this regard numerous opportunities to engage the help of his DSD vendors etc. for stocking, pricing and promotional efforts.

7. Pay attention to aisle directories. Retailers in general have treated these components as a “must have” without paying attention to the potential of the directories. There is most likely no other design element in a supermarket that gets more attention, with the exception of end-of-aisle signs, than these directories.

8. Do not forget end-of-aisle display signage: With the help of a design company there are many solutions that can be introduced to emulate the impact at the front end of a store. Design companies deliver solutions from stationery designs to weekly or monthly changing promotional inserts to the display signage.

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