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Proper use of the right merchandising fixtures can increase product visibility and sales, while educating shoppers about a brand’s differentiating features.

To get a feel for best practices (and what’s new) with shelf fixtures, we chatted with Craig Weiskerger, director of sales and marketing, and Rich Wildrick, director of engineering, for Trion Industries, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

This colorful ‘shelf talker on steroids’ draws shopper eyes and promotes salmon’s benefits such as ‘High in B12, Protein Packed, and Good Source of Potassium.’

How can retailers improve their use of fixtures?

Weiskerger: It’s still common to see merchandising fixtures successfully implemented in one section of a retailer, but never even tried in other areas due to lack of communication across departments. Also, food manufacturers spend a lot of time making their food packages into attractive mini billboards, but the effect is lost if they are tipped over or lost behind other items on the shelf. We see growing popularity of our pusher trays keep that attractive packaging consistently presented and billboarded to consumers at the shelf front.

Wildrick: It is important to test fixtures and get associate and shopper feedback before proceeding with a rollout to make sure it is user/shopper friendly and fits into product replenishment/rotations strategies. There can be a lack of communication to store associates when new fixtures are implemented. They need to be educated about why the new fixture was put in place, and how to best use it if it aids in restocking or product rotation. It’s ideal to let them know the metrics used to calculate ROI from the new fixture. The associates are key to any fixture that requires their interaction for success.

What’s on-trend today in merchandising/display?

Wildrick: Self-feeding fixtures remain popular with retailers. These units allow products to be displayed more efficiently in the space allocated to them. They also keep shelves looking full as product shops down. Another plus is that all this is done with the least associate interaction. We’re also seeing more retailers adding lighting to enhance product presentation.

You can use signage not only to spotlight product benefits, but also to poll shoppers, recruit store associates and more.

Weiskerger: I’ve noticed an increase in recent years of food manufacturers coming to us to brand their own trays in varying retail environments. More commonly, retailers request trays in a given area and they traditionally nudge some of these costs onto the food producers, but increasingly, the producers themselves are seeing the benefits of putting their brand(s) directly on the trays.  This makes sense when you consider the considerable amount of time, effort, and money it takes for a brand to establish shelf space.  This competition for space can be even more intense in the limited space in coolers and freezers. Branded trays help keep that hard-earned retail real estate defined for the food manufacturer that secured it.

What’s happening at the shelf with promotion of ‘better-for-you’ foods?

Wildrick: Everyone wants to promote more nutritional information to help consumers make choices that align with their health and buying habits. Shelf talkers or other shelf-edge promotion seemed to be the way to get this done in the past, but now more retailers and manufacturers are relying on QR codes to get information to the consumer. Web traffic and downloads from QR codes and digital advertising can provide data to help measure promotion effectiveness, which is a significant plus.

Craig Weiskerger
Rich Wildrick
FR Buyer

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