Ask the Xperts Archive

Retail Merchandising

Q: What is the average gross profit rate in the produce industry?
A: There is no official industry average due to most companies keeping statistics confidential. However, gross profit tends to run 37.50% to 39.00%.

Q: What is the average shrink rate in the produce industry?
A: There is no official industry average due to most companies keeping statistics confidential. However, produce shrink runs from 4% to 7%.

Q: What is the average percentage for produce of the total supermarket sales?
A: 10.83%

Q: How do you “rotate produce?”
A: Rotating produce is in four steps: 1) Removing older product from display 2) Refilling display with new fresh product 3) Reworking old product by culling and re-trimming 4) Replacing old reworked product on top of new product.

Q: What is certified organic produce?

A: Certified organic refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to uniform standards, verified by independent state or private organizations accredited by the USDA. All products sold as “organic” must be certified.

Q: What is a FreshXpert?
A: A FreshXpert is a qualified member or associate professionally experienced in specific skills serving the produce industry with consulting solutions.

Q: How does one become a consultant?
A: Spend years working in the industry and have a background experience in as many levels as possible. After a minimum of ten years, take five more years planning it before stepping onto the turf.

Strategic Planning/New Planning

Q: What is Enterprise Planning?
A: Enterprise planning encompasses a full review of the vision of the business and how best to achieve success. Because it is so broad in scope, enterprise planning takes several several months and is best done by engaging us via a monthly retainer to assure proper time is allocated for planning and followup.

Q: What is involved in Succession Planning?
A: If the business has done a Strategic Plan, then most of the work is done. A Strategic Plan involves designing an organization chart to achieve the plan elements. Job descriptions need to be written and skill sets matched to potential candidates. A development plan may also need to be created in order for people (ie-family members) to learn new skills to match requirements for certain positions. This exercise needs to be facilitated by someone from outside the orgainization in order to be done objectively.

Q: What is involved in Rescue Management?
A: People who engage in Recue Management are sometimes called “Turnaround experts”. This involves an independent eye looking at the business in an unemotional manner. It takes a certain degree of financial acumen and a review of key people in the organization to determine what steps need to be taken in order to “right the ship”. This is normally done through a monthly retainer in order to allocate the right amount of time to get results.

Website & E-Commerce

Q: Where do I start? I have a retail business but no online presence.
A: You start with an analysis of your internal and external landscape, taking into account your competition, your internal resources and your business goals for the future for all evolving channels of sales. Once the analysis is completed, you prioritize the website build based upon the competitive information, business short and long term goals and strategy for evolution. You then build out a business requirements document. For more detail, please reach out to the Fresh Xpert’s Team, who can assist in facilitating your road map!

Q: How do I prioritize my evolution?
A: Prioritizing is based on the ROI of the initiatives, balancing IT resources and the short and long term business strategies and goals. It is a complex process and involves getting stakeholders together to determine the steps to crawl, walk, run. Please reach out to FreshXperts for assistance in this prioritization process.

Q: I have very few email addresses to do any marketing on my new site. What should I do?
A: First step is to incorporate a pop up window which offers an incentive for updating of email address and incorporating this into your database. There are also lists that you can buy, but this needs to be done very diligently. Please reach out to the FreshXperts for assistance.

Q: How much will it cost to build and maintain a website to support the business and build awareness?
A: This is a very complicated question. Have clear expectations and goals. Are you building a site to provide information and content, or are you interested in using the site to drive online sales, or a combination of both? Are you a D to C, a distributor, a wholesaler, a B to B? Your investment will depend upon these factors as well as the quickness with which you want to grow your online business or build awareness on a content site. You need to define your road map and phases of implementation to get an understanding of the sequence of your build. After the road map is defined at a high level, the next step is determining the first pieces of core and supporting functionality that you need to start, investigate appropriate vendors for integration and work out a business plan that is in line with your budgetary constraints, and focuses on the pieces with the quickest and highest ROI potentials with the lowest level of integration. FreshXperts can assist you in assessing cost/risk as well as putting together a plan that will guide you through your evolution, within your budget and with the goal of moving the needle as quickly as possible. If you are building a content site, just for awareness or to push to the store, your measures and functionality will be different and require different analysis for cost and maintenance.

Q: How do I pick a vendor to build the website?
A: First you need to build out basic business requirements which will show core and supporting functionality and technology that will be necessary to give your customers the same value experience as they have in your retail store. Then you map each vendors capabilities to your requirements. That is the beginning of the selection process. Please reach out to FreshXperts as we can assist you in building the requirements and referrals.

Q: I know nothing about analytics. Can you help?
A: Whether free or purchased, it is critical path that you deploy a mechanism to track your progress from a customer /visitor standpoint as well as to help you map out and prioritize future enhancements as well as gauge customer satisfaction with your site. Analytic tools also measure traction and visitors that use the site as a mechanism to consume content and then go and purchase from your store. We have a great team of Analytic Experts who can facilitate your understanding of analytics as a whole and guide you to the right vendor.