Resetting the Produce Department

FreshXpertise by Ron Pelger

The resetting of the produce department is a normal procedure and occurs regularly. The proper placement of specific produce items plays a vital role in relation to consumer preferences. Adjustments are made as trends and shopping habits evolve.

There are three types of resets in the produce department: seasonal, sectional, and major.

The seasonal reset is simply switching from spring/summer to a fall/winter set and vice-versa when the seasons change. Primarily, specific seasonal categories are relocated and provided with expanded space allocation.

Sectional resets cover only specific categories such as a mushroom, tomato or apple section. One reason to reset a section would be adding new items, removal of slow movers, or even adjustment of space allocation.

A major reset is apt to be more of a complicated venture. This project involves the rearrangement of all the categories in the entire produce department into a specific merchandising pattern that fits consumer demands.

Produce managers are often overwhelmed by major department resets due to the complications they can cause. It takes a series of calculated steps in order to achieve the end results. In some cases, there are even equipment changes that are involved in these projects.

The biggest concern over major produce department resets by management is the shopper. It puts a heavy burden on them by creating a huge disruption and confusion while trying to make their specific selections. Some customers will even avoid the produce department altogether under major reset conditions

Consumers are the real reason behind a reset. The scanning data furnishes valuable information. In other words, items they purchased, amounts purchased, how often specific items were bought, the retail value a customer was willing to pay, and even vital information about the demographics of the customer.

Category management is vital in use to study and analyze items that sell the most and then are considered for display expansion. Not only does the scanning data furnish a report of items and numbers, it is also helpful in revealing where and how certain produce items sell best in the department.   

Produce department resets on the whole have also been driven by fierce competition. Conventional supermarket operators are using every means possible to survive. The lower net profit of supermarkets today has intensified the need for better merchandising strategies. Resetting shelves and floor displays to fit those needs is absolutely essential in order to remain a competitive player in the supermarket industry.

Other factors that play big roles in forcing resets are the year-round availability of items, increased ethnic population, organics, and increased health and nutrition awareness.

Mass-marketers such as Wal-Mart Supercenter, Sam’s Club, Costco, Target and others are very influential as well. In fact, this rapidly growing competition to conventional supermarket chains has forced top management to change their store merchandising strategies almost daily. 

Some shoppers dislike resets and do not understand why we need to perform such projects. On the other hand, there are many customers who like the new and better presentation. Eventually it all comes together, and people get used to it.

From the day a new store opens and many years after, produce department resets will always take place. Consumer shopping habits and trends dictate that. The end results of a produce department reset will always show up in the sales and profit. The numbers will affirm whether a reset was successful or not. More often, it has been proven that there is a substantial increase in the sales.

Resets are a necessary part of the supermarket business.

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Jennifer Lawson

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