Straighten, cull and detail

07/01/2013 09:05:00 AM
Armand Lobato

click image to zoomproduce retailer 10-minute merchandiserPamela RiemenschneiderTen minutes can transform your department from blah to WOW!Many a produce manager will issue this order: Give the department a good straightening!

What does that mean exactly? It seems clerks are always tidying things up anyway, right? Perhaps. But not with a dedicated end result in mind.

Neatness counts when displaying produce. Presentation is as important an element in marketing fresh produce as it is with any commodity. Straightening is a crucial step, and it’s especially beneficial after a wave of customers have shopped a produce department.

Patrick Mills, produce director for Boulder, Colo.-based Lucky’s Markets, gives the process an acronym: CSD, or cull, straighten and detail. The idea behind the process is that many times a messy produce department doesn’t necessarily need more product stocked immediately, but rather the produce that is on display requires brief (but immediate) attention. The procedure requires only a cart with a couple of empty boxes, a sharp eye, and quick hands.

The following will describe, in part, some of the finer points of culling, straightening and detailing, according to Mills:

 

What is culling?

Culling is removing poor-quality product from a display: the bruised apple, greening potatoes, sprouting onions, overripe bananas, short-dated packaged salad or too-soft avocado. Anything of less-than-saleable quality must go.

Culling will prevent over 90% of poor-quality product that would otherwise be found by customers. Even if most of a display is acceptable, all it takes is one poor-quality item to repel a sale. Never hesitate to cull a questionable item from the shelf.

The standard line when training produce clerks about culling is this: If you wouldn’t buy it for yourself, cull it!

 

What is straightening?

Once a display has been thoroughly culled, a good straightening is in order. Straightening is the process of organizing your product to achieve a more presentable level. Straightening allows for product presentation to appear detailed although the display may not be 100% full.

Some chains prefer that out-of-stock areas remain an open space on the tables. Other chains prefer that you “cover the wood” with an adjacent item so the table or display area looks full. Both philosophies have their advantages and disadvantages. Suffice to say that while filling in an out-of-stock area with another item may improve the table presentation, the biggest concern is that signage is adjusted accordingly.

 

What is detailing?


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