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In the Trenches: 12 ways to maximize sales for the holidays

There are several major holidays during the year that offer opportunities to boost produce sales. Two of the most prominent are Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It’s always important to plan and kick around some thoughts as to how to increase sales and gross profit against last year’s results. That calls for putting an emphasis on specific items and merchandising strategies that will meet your goals. Here are some reminders that may help you in the process.Customers-shopping-for-traditional-holiday-produce-items

 1. Ordering and deliveries: We all know that if a truck is late it can create havoc for these two holidays. Prevent panic by bringing in all your hardy items early. Potatoes, onions, hard squash, apples and citrus have lengthy shelf life. Play it safe to eliminate out-of-stocks.

2. Labor scheduling: We never get all the labor hours we would like to have. However, management does allow extra help during these holiday periods. Carefully schedule each person for timely workloads. Do you have three people scheduled at slower periods when you only need two?  

3. Displays: Use key locations for the heavyweight items that generate stronger sales. Don’t be conservative. Put some muscle into those displays. This is the time to really be aggressive. The customer volume will be there.

4. Profit strategy: Don’t bunch up all the low gross advertised items on one big display at the department entrance. That makes for a really bad maneuver. Position them in several different areas of the department forcing shoppers to move about, persuading them to make other additional purchases.

5. Workmanship: Be fussy. You’ve set high standards for the department all year. There will be exceptional foottraffic during these two major holiday shopping periods. Maintain that professional craftsmanship you developed to hold that image.

6. Popular items: The most in demand are yams, cranberries, pineapples, potatoes, onions, celery, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, squash, mushrooms, green beans and salad mixes.

7. Sleeper items: Don’t forget the accessory items such as parsley, green onions, radishes, collard greens, kale, celery root, parsnips, leek, artichokes, garlic, chestnuts, sage and rosemary herbs.

8. Large sizes: This is the time to offer huge sizes of fruit such as apples, pears, oranges, pomegranates, mangos and cantaloupes. People like to make up dinner table fruit bowls to impress visitors.

9. Dried fruit and nuts: These items are very popular during the holidays. A large display of all items together is ideal. Walnuts and pecans are especially in demand and add up to some big sales dollars. Those two can also be displayed as wings alongside end cap sections for incremental sales. Bear in mind that the new generation of shoppers like millennials often prefer shelled nuts rather than in the shell.

10. Fruit and veggie platters: These have become exceptionally popular over the years and are in great demand over the holidays. Keep them in a special section, all together and well-balanced with various varieties. There are big bucks here.

11. Gift baskets and bowls: This is the biggest time of the year for giving fruit baskets and bowls as gifts. Order them from an outsourcing company rather than try to keep pace making them at the store. Don’t depend on getting all the extra labor to produce them. They should be featured from Thanksgiving through to New Years.  

 12. Pricing: There is no need to give the house away, especially during the month of December. People spend plenty of money around Christmas and are more than willing to pay the prices for items they want. Have your one or two great features in the ad for draw. But upsell on the rest of the line to give your gross profit a big boost. This is the time to make money for your company.

Be mindful that December comes in two stages of holiday shopping. The first two weeks are generally an introduction of various Christmas-related displays throughout the store. This is shopping time for house visitations and company party celebrations. Fruit and veggie platters are in big demand. The last two weeks are for holiday dinner shopping.