Gold Is Where You Find It

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There’s a saying in the gold business that is simple and to the point but makes a lot of sense. When people ask gold miners where they can find gold, the weather-hardened gold miner looks the city slicker in the eye, curls down his mustache and says with deep reverence, “Buddy, gold is where you find it.”

Now, you are probably wondering why this article is about “where to find gold,” especially in a magazine dedicated to helping co-ops improve their sales and the bottom line. It really comes down to this. The products in your store are “gold” to your customers-but only if those products are what your customers are seeking when they come into your store. When was the last time you asked your customers, “Do we have what you want? Did you find what you needed?” Do you know where your customers shop when they are not shopping in your co-op?

Gold is where you find it. Your customers are looking for gold-oh, sorry, products. And if they don’t find what they want in your store, guess what? They are going to where the gold can be found: another store.

The question you should be asking yourself is, “How can we make ample room in our co-op to provide our customers with a wide array of products so they do not shop at other stores?” You certainly don’t want them to be mining other stores for gold-again, products.

There are lots of ways to make room in a store for more products. Possibly five or more years have gone by since you last reviewed your merchandising space. Today, there are numerous new displays and fixtures which are more energy and space efficient and can increase product offerings in the same amount of space. By providing a greater variety of products in your co-op, your customers will spend more of their food and nonfood dollars with your business.

Maybe it’s time to tour other stores and co-ops to see what merchandising fixtures they are utilizing. You may be surprised. What if you could compress your shelving depth and create more floor space? And with that floor space you can create some new displays, or seasonal promotions, or maybe even install a new department that creates excitement and curiosity with your customers.

Take, for example, one of the tools that Davis Food Co-op in Davis, Calif. used in their recent remodel. By working with Sutti and Associates, located in Burlingame, Calif., the Davis Food Co-op was able to add over 700 square feet to their existing store footprint by changing their gondolas from Lozier shelving systems to Metro shelving systems. This was not done through new building construction. It was space that was always there, it just was underutilized. Even though Metro shelving is more costly than Lozier shelving, it is a lot less costly than adding 700 square feet to your existing building.

Using Metro shelving systems not only increased their product offerings and facings, it gained the store enough space to increase their food service area, which allowed them to introduce a hot food bar and a salad bar. The food prep area, bakery, and cheese offerings also all increased dramatically in their product presentations and merchandising displays. Just as gold attracts peoples’ attention, effective product merchandising displays are key to getting your customers to look at your products.

What does this increase in floor space mean to your customers? It means more products to buy and enjoy. To your co-op, it means more sales and profits to support your community and co-op members.

By increasing square footage space utilizing Metro shelving systems, Davis Food Co-op experienced a sales increase in all of the departments in the store. The numbers on the Davis Food Co-op sales graph (above) were developed while the store was still being remodeled, where some departments had not yet been remodeled and others were being completed. The initially remodeled departments were impacting the sales of all the departments. When the remodel was completed, overall store sales increased by over 25 percent.

Sutti and Associates has been helping retailers increase their sales for over 30 years. Our premise is simple: It is all about the product. Naturally, we use an extensive variety of tools and techniques to show and tell your customers about the products. Design layouts, architectural plans, equipment and fixture recommendations, and construction are just a few of the many services available to help you master your merchandising needs.

You can’t see gold, unless you are very lucky, without spending many hours panning for it. But your customers can. By creating a display that illuminates your products and triggers their curiosity, they will find it golden. Remember, gold is where your customers find it!

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