Natural Foods Merchandiser

News You Can Use at Store of the Future

Retailers who want to go green or investigate new ideas in merchandising or product promotion can find answers at the EcoTrends Learning Lab at Natural Products Expo West.

The 3,500-square-foot store of the future will showcase eco-friendly building materials for six store departments, a demo kitchen and a juice bar. Each department—food, supplements, personal wellness, natural home, pet care and technology—will display green solutions for flooring, paneling, counters and shelves. There is an educational component in each department that provides tips for merchandising products as well.

?Everything in the store is doable today,? said Jim Dygas, co-founder of Chicago-based Creative Commune, the store designer. A materials wall will display information about the U.S. Green Building Council and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. Some of the sustainable suggestions, such as installing a bike rack, can help retailers lower their taxes, Dygas says.

Amy Dageenakis, Expo sales coordinator, says that although both this year?s store of the future and last year?s focused on green materials, this store is definitely different. ?In an interactive environment, it shows retailers merchandising and programming ideas they can execute in their store that are new and fresh,? she says. ?They can take a washing machine and use it to sample cleaning products. It?s not over the top—you can do it yourself.?

A new checkout system will also debut in the store. It links products purchased by the retailer with sales, giving the retailer accurate inventory information.

There?s one other similarity with last year?s show: Expo will hold a drawing for most of the items in the store. Retailers can enter the raffle at the EcoTrends Learning Lab at booth 1671. One lucky winner will be announced at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 3/p. 40

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