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How produce displays drive sales and create a shopping experience

This time of year, cherries, stone fruit, and melons are the most popular items for produce displays. "We have built some great displays so far with the California cherry crop, and with Washington now starting, it's full steam ahead with building cherry displays," says Brian Dey with Four Seasons Produce. "The fun for me kicks off on June 24th, with a myriad of Washington state cherry displays being built in our trading area. I can't wait to get started," he said. Cherries are such a highly sought-after commodity. In summer, displays with cherries offer the highest opportunity to increase tonnage, followed by stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, and plums. Melons are the third category driving sales volume in summer.

Two different cherry displays.

Benefits of a display
Produce displays offer many benefits, both for retailers and consumers. "The growth experience from a produce display is phenomenal," Dey shared. Some stores experience up to triple-digit growth numbers year over year. An attractive display drives volume sales as well as gross profit for the store. In addition, displays increase commodity awareness. The creativity and size of a display make consumers aware of the items that are in season. In addition, displays create a cool atmosphere to shop. "They draw a lot of attention and turn a shopping trip into a shopping experience." Merchandising shows the power of produce and creates a memory for the customer at the same time.

Stone fruit and melon displays.

Partnership with retailer
Four Seasons offered merchandising services to their key retail partners. A display may take anywhere from a half hour to build (e.g. stacking cherry clamshells in a smaller display) up to four hours to complete when building a theater with larger quantities and hand stacking the fruit. The whole planning process, however, could take up to a month. "I am a definite planner for sure, and want to be sure every display, every event, every opportunity for customers to enjoy their shopping trip is captured. In my eyes, there is no such thing as overplanning".

Together with the retailer, a plan is being developed that includes the design of the display, the retail price point, as well as the sales goals. "We work in partnership with the retailer and while we build the display, it is nice to tie in their thoughts and ideas," Dey commented. "We help facilitate, but this is the store's moment to shine." It is also an opportunity to train and inspire store employees.

On display-building-day, Dey usually shows up early in the morning or later at night when there are no customers in the store. "We build the display for the customer, not requiring any physical labor from store employees." While Dey builds many produce displays throughout the year, with a territory from Buffalo, NY to Maine and Tennessee, he can't cover every single store. Therefore, his displays act as a blueprint for store employees, giving them ideas to replicate or act as a base visual to help them create their own masterpieces.

Merchandising berries and mangos.

For more information:
Brian Dey
Senior Merchandiser and Natural Stores Coordinator
Four Seasons Produce
[email protected]