The Wonderful Company's Adam Cooper Talks Cross-Merchandising Strategies
LOS ANGELES, CA - As merchandising continues to become a more effective and impactful tool of the trade, The Wonderful Company is creating new ways to capture the eyes of consumers and help retailers reap the benefits. Having evolved its program over the years, Wonderful has invested $1 billion in marketing and brand building to promote its healthy snacks. If your shoppers are anything like me, an eye-catching POS display can be the make-it or break-it between a product making its way into my cart.
I caught up with The Wonderful Company’s Vice President of Marketing, Adam Cooper, to learn more about the benefits of merchandising and how Wonderful is creating more cross-merchandising opportunities for retailers.
“Merchandising is extremely important to us. It’s one of the things we spend a lot of our resources, people, and money on because we know it drives traffic to the store—and conversion once consumers are in the store,” Adam tells me, before drilling down into some of the particulars regarding the company’s latest merchandising successes. “We’ve gone huge with Wonderful Halos, our Mandarin brand. Our most recent display collection 'Grove of Goodness,' has seen huge success for retailers that took advantage of it this year. In fact, those retailers saw more than two-times lift in velocity growth versus stores that did not have those displays.”
As retailers look for strategies and opportunities in merchandising, Adam tells me that one of the easiest ways to cross-merchandise is to put healthy products together for different occasions. As the snacking category continues to explode, with more people seeking healthier options, one of the easiest ways to deliver on this is by putting two or more like-minded brands together. Consumers buy on impulse, off the shelf when shopping in store, so displaying Wonderful Pistachios next to Wonderful Halos and Wonderful Pomegranates for instance, has made it easier for consumers to find healthy snack options all in one strategic location. Wonderful found another cross-merchandising success when retailers put Wonderful POM POMS in the berry sections.
“In this case, it’s a kind of cross-merchandising, at a broader level: antioxidants,” Adam lets me know. “By expanding the berry case to include Wonderful POM POMS fresh arils, consumers now have a unique antioxidant snacking option whether that’s for recipes or for snacking or for toppings on yogurts, for example.”
When it comes to promoting items across multiple departments, Adam’s got more than a few tricks up his sleeve, as he discusses how health-conscious consumers are changing the retail landscape.
“Our consumer insights suggest that people are looking for healthier options, especially at checkout. According to recent consumer studies, 80 percent of shoppers say they want healthier options at checkout and right now, as you may know, most of the options there are candy bars and other sugary kind of snacks. However, for retailers that put Wonderful Halos at checkout, we’ve found they improve not only their sales but also the health perceptions of their store. For Wonderful Pistachios, we knew that watching live sports is a key eating occasion, so we increased our association with football through our marketing campaign, and also designed a huge football field display. Retailers took advantage of it by putting it into bigger spaces where they’re traditionally used to selling beer and other less healthy items for football season, and this allowed them to give their shoppers a healthier option.”
As we talk about the opportunities within healthy snacking, Adam shares with me some of the reasons why retailers should be changing up their marketing strategies, especially in this era of e-commerce.
“All retailers are trying to figure out how to win in e-commerce and against e-commerce, and one of the ways to do that is to make the shopping experience fun and engaging,” he explains. “That’s the one thing that e-commerce will never have, that real, in-person shopping experience. I think that’s one reason why it’s critical that brick and mortar retailers take advantage of merchandising and at different locations within the store.
As Wonderful builds its brand up, the company is realizing more and more the opportunity to be a part of retailers’ healthy snack centers, both in and out of produce. Adam goes on to explain that The Wonderful Company’s in-house sales-merchandising team—of 175 people!—has the direct advantage of talking to produce managers and testing merchandising strategies before rolling out new programs.
“We invest millions of dollars every year in our merchandising,” Adam says. “This is a cost that we don’t charge the retailers for, because this is something that we believe in.”
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