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By Joel M. Albrizio, President

"Center Store Sales Depend On The Appetite Of Our Kids"

  Most every retailer in America, both small and large, is looking for the secret to increasing center store sales. As participants in this search for answers we all have ideas while many retailers have, in a sense, "given up" on the center store.

  When we look at retail sales we need to make some observations. What type of shoppers give the retailer the largest basket size and why? It seems in most surveys today, the shopper with the least amount of time (the proverbial soccer mom) gives the retailer the largest basket size.

  A deeper look shows that the 35-50 year old parent is preoccupied with giving rides and watching children’s games on a daily basis. Add this on top of trying to find time for themselves and they simply do not have the time to shop 2 or 3 retail locations for that large, weekly shopping experience.

  Children of all ages demand certain products and never say make certain that product hits a certain price point or get it another time. McDonalds learned this success years ago when they employed the children's toys in "Happy Meals" as an incentive to drive sales with children.

  As a retailer do we spend enough time working on selling and not just buying? For one moment lets put the cost of goods aside, as well as that hot price point, and think about meal planning as an engine for sales growth.

  If we advertise in a way where the shopper can plan complete meals while going a step further to make it "kid friendly," we have made it easier to grow our average basket size. Can we add the prepared foods like chicken wings and pizza to the ad plan and suggest certain combinations by advertising the "kid friendly" products together?

  Are we willing to demo items with store employees? Think about demo's like half slices of fresh pizza or sample size cups of a new cereal, juice or ice cream?

  Add to that the concept of 10% off for senior citizens one day per week. Have you ever thought how many 35-50 year olds take mom shopping once per week? If they take mom that’s the first step - now have we made it easier for the customer we really need to shop as well?

  In closing, center store sales are most likely to occur when we acknowledge that we, as retailers, we will not always hit the lowest price point and must accept our new role in selling.

  Once we have accepted this new concept, we will begin most days optimistic of where center store sales might be if we changed our focus to lowering the barriers of entry for this shopper that is most likely to give us everything we need -"The Mix"

  Think about everything we could put in the print ad, social media, or website that is not necessarily price driven to add excitement. Successful retail experiences employ excitement, fun foods, convenience, and friendly faces greeting them while they shop.

  Customers will most likely shop the store they like best, so lets not disappoint them. We need to learn to sell!

  Our next post will be about the debate between digital and print and how this balance excites a new generation of shoppers - a generation of shoppers we need to be successful.

Thank you for all of the many positive responses to us.