Several varieties of pears in a retail display. ( The Packer staff )

It’s a busy time of year for pear marketers, who are working with retailers to move as much fruit as possible.

The Milwaukie, Ore.-based Pear Bureau Northwest, for example, has had all four of its regional marketing managers analyzing retailer performance from a year ago and developing plans for the upcoming season, as they met with the retailers over the summer, said Kevin Moffitt, the bureau’s president and CEO.

“They provide retailers with a detailed analysis showing how they are performing against their competition, identifying opportunity gaps and plans for increased profits with proven merchandising techniques and promotions,” Moffitt said of the regional marketers’ agendas.

“Proven activities for increasing pear sales include grouping and promoting many varieties of pears in the department in a pear-a-rama promotion, sales and display contests and sampling.”

The pear bureau also has expanded its programs to include more digital coupons and reaching a retailers’ shoppers through its “frequent shopper” programs,” Moffitt said.

“For those retailers with online shopping sites, we have variety charts and ripening videos as well as recipes that they can post on their sites,” he said.

The bureau also works with various departments within a retail organization, such as a supermarket’s dietitians, as well as bloggers and social media content managers, Moffitt said.

“Working with the different departments increases our voice, scope and communications reaching consumers before, during and after a store visit,” he said.

Yakima, Wash.-based Domex Superfresh Growers offers digital marketing kits, which include orchard pictures, recipes, and “pre-written blog posts,” said David Roby, brand manager.

“We’re constantly communicating to retailers and working with USA Pears (Pear Bureau Northwest) to educate consumers and produce associates on how to determine when pears are ripe and what to do at home to ripen them if needed,” Roby said.

Visual presentations help move pears at retail, said Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing with Yakima-based Sage Fruit Co.

“To help generate excitement around pears, we recommend building large, eye-catching displays with informational material to help consumers know what to look for in their purchases,” Sinks said. “The displays are especially beneficial during new crop/harvest season, as well as during the holidays.”

Most retail customers market the pears in bulk displays and use the larger sizes for their business, said John Long, director of the Washington division of Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc.

“Retail ads are very important to the pear industry and we have experienced good support from retail customers across the world,” he said.

Displays and visibility are a must, said Scott Martinez, vice president of sales with Lodi, Calif.-based Rivermaid Trading Co., which runs its Northwest pear program in Medford, Ore.

“Pears need to be displayed if they can because they are an impulse item,” he said.

Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers LLC’s Operation Flavor program helps the company work with retail customers “on ways to ensure flavor comes first for pears,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager.

“This will improve their performance and benefit us as growers, as well,” she said. “Of course, we work closely with retailers to ensure the 4 Ps of marketing are in alignment.”

Those are product, placement, promotion and price, she said.

Which merchandising tools to use often depends on the retail client, said Andy Tudor, vice president of business development with Yakima-based Rainier Fruit Co.

“Each retailer and market is unique,” he said.

“As part of our business development team we have several data analysts and we place a high priority on category management and category development, where we spend considerable time evaluating sales and category data by market and overlaying that with consumer trends to identify opportunities for each retailer to help them drive opportunities.”

Shopper experience also is a component of a successful retail program, said Tim Evans, manager of domestic and export sales with Chelan, Wash.-based Chelan Fresh.

“Pre-conditioned pear programs are growing, and also tasting events or demos play a big part of driving sales in the category,” he said.

 
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