Natural Foods Merchandiser

Optimize top sellers

Here are some creative ways to lure customers toward your No. 1 products, courtesy of Dale Kamibayashi, president of Vantage Organics, a Boulder, Colo.-based natural products sales and marketing consulting firm. Demo with the boss. "Customers love to talk directly with the creator of the product," says Kamibayashi. Ask a manufacturer to send in a honcho rather than a henchman to do in-store demoing.

Market for a cause. Consider working with one of your top-selling companies to develop a marketing program where a purchase provides contributions to a sustainable cause or charity.

Hold a tasting fair. Invite some of your key vendors to participate in a day of product sampling at your store. Create a carnival-type atmosphere with fun activities that entertain customers and their kids. "Plus, if you can throw in a fundraiser for a local charity or cause to add to the festivities, it can potentially bring some new customers," Kamibayashi says.

Host a cooking class. Get a local well-known restaurant chef to do an in-store cooking demonstration and ask vendors to donate the ingredients, making sure their brands and products are displayed during the class. Give class attendees who buy any of the sponsored products a 10 percent store discount

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