Talking Shop with... Stephen T. Matsko
By Grocery Headquarters Staff
Stephen T. Matsko, director of sales and marketing for Trion Industries, says the proper fixtures can help better connect shopper to retailer. What is going on in the retail marketplace as far as fixtures are concerned? Stephen T. Matsko: That is truly the question we all ask. The current marketplace is always looking for the new and creative, but demands the standards and the usual. That is why we look, listen and learn from our customers. We continue to provide what they need, with a focus on making the standards as well as new and innovative products. What we see most consistently in today’s marketplace is an overall demand for maximizing space and doing it efficiently while maintaining a good look for the presentation of the retail product. This has lead Trion to improve on items we already supply. We have also developed new items for those products in which packaging and display requirements are different than what has been applied before. What are the best practices that a retailer can implement in terms of fixtures? Being seen is being sold. With the shoppers in mind, the best practice is to display in a way that offers easy selection, variety and shopability to the consumer. With the retailer in mind, it is a system that adds more facings and increases their sales. That is why one must ask the right questions and offer solutions that fit and will work to both the consumer and retailer. It is about the marriage of both. How is Trion Industries keeping up with current trends and staying ahead of the curve? At Trion we stay customer centric. That being said, we like to be proactive with their needs. A great example is the fairly new pouch packaging that has entered the retail space and is growing the diversity of products being placed in this type retail package. We have seen the need starting with the baby food category, but now it will be branching into other food areas. We now see fruit snacks out there beyond the baby food aisle and we expect to see more growth in many other categories. That branching out led us to the development of the “Pouch Hooks.” These are now being deployed in the marketplace. We also know that in many cases retailers like and require options for a given package configuration. We listen and see what the fit is, based not only on the product but also on the retailer’s need. That is why we have multiple options for merchandising pouch products to compliment our Pouch Hook line. How do retailers need to react? Is it something as simple as educating them about trends or is it more involved? We believe that retailers should be aware of current trends and consider it our job to show them what is new and what options we have that can increase selling space and increase sales based on the merchandising options we can provide—such as with our WonderBar Tray System. With our system there is a gain in selling space that has lead to more than 20% growth in sales of a category just by going to the system that “Raises the Bar.” We feel that being consultative in our selling approach and showing what is good for the retailer and the category will also have a positive effect on the bottom line of increased sales and shopability to their customers. It is an education process that involves introducing a solution, following up and expanding on success. What does the future hold for fixtures? There will always be consumers with needs and there will always be suppliers producing what they need. This need will require retailers to remain the pivot point between suppliers and consumers. That formula means retailers will always have a need to display and sell merchandise and will always be looking for fixtures that will work toward the marriage of retailer and consumer. That always means that we will always look to do it better. The future looks to be busy and bright.