Naomi Sleeper
Director of Business Development
Imperial Distributors

 

We would probably all agree that this winter was one of the coldest and, most unpredictable, that we have had in several years. Leave it to mother-nature to bring a nor’easter in the middle of March as we reset our clocks to “spring forward”.

Now that spring is finally here, grocery shoppers, full of energy and enthusiasm, are ready for a fresh new start. The spring season represents a wonderful time for supermarkets to promote, merchandise and sell seasonal non-foods. It’s also a great way for retailers to drive more traffic to their stores that may have dropped off over the winter months.

The spring/summer season has the longest selling period, beginning in April and lasting until the latter part of July, as compared to traditional holidays. It is a time for shoppers to revitalize from the cold winter and enjoy the warm weather outdoors. Spring is a good time to bring summer products onto the sales floor which captures the excitement and enjoyment of “spring fever”. For supermarkets with limited space, it’s important to begin displaying summer products as Easter/Passover sells down.

So, what are the seasonal non-foods products that supermarket shoppers will be looking for as spring blossoms?

The sales of cleaning products including brooms, mops, brushes, cleaning cloths, sponges and buckets increase in sales. Cleaning the house from top to bottom after being “house bound” most of the winter is a “popular” spring activity. As winter clothes start to get stored away, and spring/summer clothes are taken out to replace them, it is important that storage containers, mothballs and closet air fresheners are readily available.

As weather becomes warmer, and shoppers set their sights on spring yard work, lawn and garden products like watering cans/sprays, garden tools and gloves, flower containers, hoses, and birdhouses are in demand. These products sell best when merchandised with live plants in the store’s floral department. Even grass trimmers, leaf blowers and small hand and electric lawn mowers are available in many supermarkets with lawn and garden supplies.

One of the best parts of getting ready for spring/summer is taking out the patio/lawn furniture and barbeque grills. Today, supermarkets offer a variety of competitively priced grills/smokers, cooking tools and accessories along with broad assortment of patio sets. And it is not too early to bring out air conditioners, fans, beach chairs, umbrellas, spring/summer toys, coolers, party tableware, camping supplies and patriotic flags in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

It is also important to take advantage of cross merchandising opportunities provided by seasonal non-foods, using clip strips, power panels and counter units. Examples include: ice cream scoops with the ice cream, barbeque tools and skewers with meat, citronella candles with bug repellents, kitchen tools and gadgets with produce, coolers with beverages and picnic table cloths and napkins with party goods. Studies confirm that tying seasonal non-foods to grocery products increase impulse sales.

With spring/summer sun shining brightly, protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays becomes critical, and demand increases for products like sunglasses, sun hats and visors, and especially sun care items including suntan lotions, sun screens and lip balms.

The key to ensuring a successful seasonal selling event is to plan early, commit to providing prominent space, be creative in your merchandising, and promote and advertise seasonal non-foods early and often.

Now is the time to leave winter behind, and plant the seeds for harvesting a bumper crop of seasonal non-foods. Yes, it’s been a long and cold winter, but Spring is here, and Summer is not far behind!!