Capitalizing on Cross-Merchandising

Capitalizing on Cross-Merchandising

Naomi Sleeper
Imperial Distributors


This past month, Imperial launched its Merchandising-in-a-Box Program. This carefully procured assortment of season-specific product comes to stores complete with guide on where and how to cross-merchandise each product with its relevant perishable or grocery food product. The drop-in solution for supermarkets provides an important supplement to seasonal displays to ensure that key season-specific food-related items are at shoppers’ fingertips throughout the store: the right product, in the right place, at the right time. It’s all about selling solutions to shoppers for the optimal shopping experience and highlights the value of effective cross-merchandising.

Cross-merchandising is key to maximizing sales, not only of the impulse items, but also of the product they support. This strategy can take multiple forms.

  1. Complementary items: Food-related products, like those featured in Imperial’s Merchandising-in-a-Box Program, provide excellent cross-merchandising opportunities for both every-day and season-specific selling. Peelers, for example, align perfectly with potatoes year-round; while cherry-pitters are ideal to display with cherries when in season. Cross-merchandising certain GM items, like blenders & protein powders next to bananas, can even inspire a food concept and drive shoppers to purchase any of these items that may not have been on their shopping list.


  1. Thematic merchandising: Thematic selling is an impactful way to add visual excitement, convenience, and inspiration for shoppers. Seasonal product, cross-merchandised with relevant everyday items from multiple departments, can easily accomplish all these benefits for customers. For the fall season, consider an apple-themed display of apples, cider, apple corers and peelers, pie dishes, apple-themed kitchen towels and aprons, and baking essentials; or build up the pumpkin-spice theme with an assortment of pumpkin-spiced grocery products (coffee, cookies, cereal…), merchandised with pumpkin-spice candles and scents. Thematic displays can also build on everyday grocery promotions, like pasta and sauce: adding colanders, spaghetti spoons, pasta bowls and cheese graters to this grocery endcap will provide shoppers everything they need for pasta night and draw greater attention to the promotional display.


  1. Data-driven correlations: Analyzing shopper purchasing data can provide valuable insight into less obvious, but valuable cross-merchandising opportunities. The famous example of merchandising beer next to diapers, based on purchasing history showing that men commonly purchase diapers, points to the value of analyzing your own store purchasing data to identify items commonly purchased together.


  1. Digital cross-merchandising. Don’t leave cross-merchandising just to your brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers can build shoppers’ online grocery baskets when using these approaches to cross-merchandise on e-commerce sites, as well. Make the most of banner images, recommended items, promotional features and showcases with deliberate digital cross-merchandising strategies.

Cross-merchandising enhances the shopping experience and drives incremental sales for retail stores. Whether in stores or online, be sure to take advantage of these win-win opportunities through the seasons.