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By Joel Albrizio, President, Adlife Marketing & Communications

"We Believe Food Lion Merchandising Must Be More Flexible To Survive"

Food Lion both wants and needs to build retail sales similar to most every retailer in the United States. So when we look at all of the options for possible Sales, Retail Incentives, Programs or as we call them "Calls To Action" what could they try? 

What might Food Lion believe would work?

Stepping back one second to review what works in today's retail environment, we realize the idea must be simple to understand and implement yet different enough in nature to seem novel or at least unique in some way to intrigue the consumer.

Now understanding we are looking for unique yet intriguing in some manner to keep the customers attention, why not consider shorter more attractive sale periods? Not as an edict but an alternative merchandising plan intended to drive retail sales during shorter time periods.

The shorter time period to enjoy an attractive shopping offer increases the strength of the catalyst. In order to expect the largest and the most consistent gains in retail food we must insist that our merchandising plan generate increased excitement. 

Why Not....WE MUST Look At Shorter, More Effective Sale Periods?

Looking at the month or 30 day period as a potential sales plan we could consider the following. A base merchandising program using traditional print and distribution on the seven day schedule we all know and understand.

With an additional digital advertising "Call To Action" built on two, three or any number of day combinations understanding the customer shops a number of times per week and we need them to shop our locations.

Given that most customers shop a number of times per week, but often with different retailers the customer must be interested in different items or shopping incentives. 

If we as retailers and merchandisers appeal to these different desires with shorter deal periods perhaps we can increase our customer counts. Entice the shopper to make that additional trip to the store your store by offering a new group of incentives.

Layering incentives digitally over a traditional print marketing program increases the customer opportunities with a shopper who now knows and trusts your brand.

Food Lion lacks this merchandising excitement. The Food Lion brand today seems the "Unbranded Brand" Food Lion is there for now or perhaps forever. What will determine the time period is sustainable retail merchandising progress.

Food Lion like many of the Ahold banners lacks energy and the all important resulting retail food sales. This general lack of energy seems to have evolved from a large conglomerate styled merchandising plan. 

While these merchandising plans may be reasonably effective in raising vendor support with scale they lack what the customer might be looking for in the retail excitement category. Lack of retail excitement results in a lack of retail sales.

How about shorter more exciting and therefor successful sale periods? Expect that usual pushback from merchandisers that enjoy that 4:45 knock off time. Most merchandisers will tell the category manager all of the logic as to why things have always been done a certain way.

 This is simply not true and success will require merchandising changes. GPG monies are based on results. Get the results and you get the money. Any merchandiser can get what everyone else gets. 

Success will be found when we get more CPG attention because we generate larger retail sales with proven, sustainable retail programs.

This success may require retail sales incentives or perhaps in some cases an entirely new approach to merchandising but this is a must change. Food Lion is a floating big box without the motor to go in any direction. 

Without a clear direction good things are unlikely to occur. Shorter digital sale periods with greater shopping excitement just might bring that Food Lion motor to fruition.

"On A Positive Note Food Lion Steps Forward & Helps The Hungry"

Food Lion has pledged to donate 500 million meals to families in need by the end of 2020 through its new community relations platform, Food Lion Feeds, which will focus on hunger relief. 

Impressive in it's initiative, Food Lion has made an important step in giving back to the communities Food Lion relies upon. Communities that can now rely upon Food Lion.

In closing, many have asked why I choose to write about what I see in the supermarket industry today and my ideas. At Adlife we believe great ideas and its resulting branding will give new life and direction to any company. So for that reason we chose to open the discussion.

Joel M. Albrizio, President PreparedFoodPhotos.com & Adlife Marketing & Communications

Follow Me On Twitter @joelalbrizio or right here on LinkedIn!

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