A seasonal approach

Current and future GMDC white papers are designed for retailers to get the most out of the different selling seasons.

How do grocery retailers build seasonal nonfoods sales during the September and December time period?

Seasonal Best Practices – for the New World of Shopping: Part 1, a new white paper developed by The Global Market Development Center (GMDC) and its Educational Leadership Council explores today’s prevalent shopping patterns for seasonal nonfoods.

According to officials at Colorado Springs, Colo.-based GMDC, the study offers specific ways retailers can accelerate sales and profits during the vital retail time frame—between September, which they describe as storm season, and December, the holiday season—and provides deepening value to the GMDC member base.

They say that the white paper reveals proven retail strategies and tactics to grow basket size and increase store trips. Retailer interviews and case studies showcase successful ways to make stores, categories and products appeal to modern-day seasonal shoppers. The biggest difference makers include: top-down support, analytics-based strategies and joint presence of nonfoods with holiday foods in store displays and marketing collateral.

Nielsen data within the study quantify key seasonal nonfoods opportunities, while findings of an exclusive GMDC member survey conducted online last fall, addresses consumer spending habits, plus ways in which retailers will use technology to engage consumers and sell more seasonal nonfoods.

“Seasonal is definitely important,” says Chris Timko, director of national brands at Topco Associates, based in Skokie, Ill. “Give people the right experience, and a store has a much greater chance to keep people shopping there. Seasonal is a little bit offense and a little bit defense. Just as people are passionate about food, they can gain emotional uplift from the right GM product that has the right value proposition in place.”

GMDC officials hope that its members will dispense this research with their company associates across many departments, along with shared objectives to mine new analytics, pinpoint shoppers’ spending thresholds, market in ways that audiences will be receptive to and collaborate with more resourceful, motivated suppliers to win seasons.

“Seasons are so critical to retailer success and shoppers evolve so rapidly in how they buy for them—that stores and CPG manufacturers must constantly refine their efforts to appeal and satisfy,” says Mark Mechelse, director of research, industry insights and communications at GMDC. “Part 1 is a powerful tool to help GMDC members achieve this.

Its consumer insights help stores and suppliers position for where seasonal markets are heading, case studies serve as lessons in success and new data help frame the dollar opportunities so retailers are better able to allocate their resources appropriately.”

GMDC retailers, wholesalers, suppliers and service companies will soon be provided with Seasonal Best Practices: Part 2. This follow-up report, currently in development, will cover the rest of the calendar from January (New Year’s resolutions) through August (back-to-school). 

Seven steps to a seasonal event plan
1. Decide on overall corporate strategy. Ensure the seasonal event plan supports corporate objectives and go-to-market strategies.
2. Choose suppliers and intermediaries as partners to help develop the plan.
3. Define the event. Determine its scope and target audience and develop a consumer decision tree for each segment/product offering.
4. Assess the historical performance of products included in the event—from the perspective of assortment, shelf/display space, promotion, pricing and supply chain.
5. Develop strategies and tactics for the event.
6. Build the action plan.
7. Create an evaluative scorecard.

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