By teaching your employees some simple rules for stocking, you can sell more, spread the creative genius and stop micromanaging. Organic-produce consultant and frequent NFM contributor Mark Mulcahy shares his top tips for stocking and merchandising a magical produce department.
Don't hurt the food. A sky-high stack of peaches might look like a dream, but if the weight of the pile bruises pieces on the bottom, it's no good.
Position your produce. "Make sure its best view is to the customer," Mulcahy says. And instead of stocking monochromatically, make the most of contrasting colors. For example, to highlight the vibrant green of fresh broccoli, tuck it next to red cabbage.
Design for ease of rotation. Mulcahy points out that produce displays are often so big they're difficult to rotate—but it should be done every day. So if you don't move very much produce, building a huge display actually creates more work.
Make buying easy. "Don't make the customer think, 'I can't take that apple from the middle, or the whole display will topple,'" Mulcahy says—one more reason to avoid super-high stacks.
Draw shoppers in. "Whole Foods does a great job of this," Mulcahy says. The chain puts its most compelling displays toward the front of the store, topped with sample stations and sale signs.