(April 8) Want to increase sales of the No. 1 item in your produce department? Then try your hand at banana promotions. Suppliers say that putting the top-selling produce item on sale draws traffic to your department and leads to additional produce scans.
Rick Utchell, vice president of marketing at Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Westlake Village, Calif., says bananas are an impulse item, and statistics show that consumers are more apt to purchase bananas when they are on promotion.
Banana promotions create a sense of excitement in your produce department, too, says Tim Debus, vice president of the International Banana Association, Alexandria, Va. He says your efforts to build that excitement will increase interest and consumption of the fruit.
Bananas can be a profitable destination category. David Lund, director of marketing at Chiquita Fresh N.A., Cincinnati, says 60 percent of consumers seek and buy bananas each week. When you promote the category, you remind consumers to eat bananas and keep the likely banana purchaser coming back to your store, he says.
But even though bananas are frequently shopped, John Loughridge, vice president of marketing at Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., says fewer banana promotions are eroding shopping habits, particularly among those 18 to 34 years of age.
“If other items are promoted and bananas are not, the margins produced by this key item will decline over time,” he says.
To keep this from happening, apply the following strategies to make your next banana promotion successful.
LESSON 1: PLAN AHEAD
While there isn’t a hard and fast rule for when to start planning your promotion, many suppliers suggest you start at least four to six weeks in advance.
“The more time you have to plan, the better the promotion will be,” Utchell says. “We suggest you talk to a salesperson first and decide what you are going to do and how you are going to execute it.”
The type of promotion dictates how much preparation time you need.
Marion Tabard, marketing director at Turbana Corp., Miami, says if it is just a sales promotion, advise your supplier two or three weeks in advance in order to load the additional volume, ship it, ripen it and deliver it to the stores. A marketing promotion, on the other hand, usually requires several months of planning, she says.
To make it easy on yourself, plan out an annual calendar at the beginning of the year and share it with your suppliers.
Jeff Adams, produce manager at Auchan Hypermarket, Houston, a two-store chain, says the stores promote bananas once every three to four months.