( Photo by The Packer staff )

It is a fabulous feeling to have a story to share, and Rouses Markets delivered that for its shoppers Dec. 4 with a promotion centered around the world’s largest avocado display at its store on Tchoupitoulas Street.

Rouses priced the fruit at 3/$1, and Avocados From Mexico added a coupon that lowered the price of the fruit to 3/25 cents. Rouses used roughly 112,000 avocados to build the display.

I traveled to New Orleans for the event, and as you might expect, people bought a lot more than they usually would. Shoppers filled multiple bags with fruit, and some put entire boxes in their carts.

“You always have to take advantage of a good deal,” one shopper told me, adding she had come to the store specifically for the avocados and would take home about 70.

Another customer, who had happened upon the display while on her usual trip, said she would buy two dozen to use for get-togethers around the Saints and LSU games coming up.

A third woman planned to buy about 100 avocados to distribute to her friends and family.

“I’m going to drop them off,” she said. “Santa Claus is coming early today.” 

Several of the folks with whom I spoke said they heard about the event on Facebook, or they heard from friends or family members who’d seen the event on Facebook. As of 6 p.m. Dec. 5, the initial post by Rouses about the display and the price of 3/25 cents at the Tchoupitoulas store had received 1,400 reactions, 800 comments and more than 900 shares. 

A subsequent post that featured director of produce Rob Ybarra had 6,000 views, 33 comments and 39 shares. Last but not least, a Facebook Live that included the smiling and dancing avocado mascot had more than 5,000 views and more than 60 comments.

Thanks to social media exposure and word of mouth, many people made a trip to that Rouses on Dec. 4 specifically for the avocados. While the price was a key motivator for purchase, shoppers seemed to really enjoy the event as well. 

Lots of people took photos and videos of the giant display, and others sampled dishes with avocados, including pork carnitas, steak and chicken quesadillas, shrimp and avocado salad, avocado toast and more. Several folks wanted their picture snapped with the dancing avocado mascot who was handing out coupons to people shopping the display.

As retailers across the country are more and more pressed to differentiate themselves amid price pressures and the rise of e-commerce, creating memorable experiences is a key part of the equation. What will make your shoppers say “Wow!” as they walk through the department? What will compel them to take a photo and send it to their friends? What will draw a smile or a chuckle?

Create marketing events with those questions in mind, and your shoppers will become your best advertisements.  

Ashley Nickle is editor of Produce Retailer magazine and retail editor of The Packer. E-mail her at [email protected].

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