How to merchandise during the BBQ season

All retail spaces benefit from freshening up a few times a year; merchandising seasonally is the most obvious pattern to follow. Shoppers are massively motivated by weather and as the days get warmer, our shopping patterns change. There’s a great opportunity to mirror this visually in your store layout. We sat down with WBC’s in-house retail consultant Gerry Moss, to discuss how retailers can merchandise their spaces for the up and coming BBQ season.

What ways can independent retailers approach the BBQ season from a merchandising and display point of view?

Make a big impact within your retail space by creating specially designated hot-spot areas, positioned with prominence and centred within your shop. An eye-catching display can then be put into action:

  • Ensure the hot-spot is in full view on the shop floor. Make sure all your BBQ related paraphernalia is included within the display. Now is the time for their showcase!
  • If you have the room, opt for several displays dotted around the store. Group them for a more ‘shoppable’ experience. Create varied price points – entry-level, mid-tier to luxury.
  • BBQ’s go hand in hand with beer and wine. Have a seasonal selection on show within your display. Include accessories like coolers, outdoor ice buckets and bottle openers, for an additional profit margin.
  • Summer focused products including colourful paper plates, napkins and straws which look great sat alongside meat, cheeses and condiments.

Do you have any merchandising and display tips and ideas?

  • Once you’ve built your hot-spot use retail props to create visual retail-theatre.
  • Group relevant BBQ products but think about cross-pollination potential.
  • Consider offering a gift option for bottles and food items. If your customers aren’t hosting a BBQ, they will be attending one. And there’s nothing nicer than a bottle of wine brought over to say thank you.

What ideas have you found work well? What have you found doesn’t work so well?

In my experience, actually cooking at a BBQ to create a sensual experience has proven beneficial in terms of customer engagement and sales.

What doesn’t work so well are promotions in a space of a retail store where either limited numbers of people could see the products on show, or the prices of the products within the display were too high. It’s important to show a range of price points.

Creating a simple social media campaign ahead of and during the BBQ season is a good tool to drive footfall and sales. It’s a powerful way to remind customers of what you’re up to. It can also inspire people, encouraging them to make a sale! 1st and 2nd June is The Big Lunch where people all across the UK have lunch with their neighbours outside. 21st – 30th June is National Picnic Week – essential diary dates full of opportunities to generate awareness for your alfresco offering.

Are there any trends/novel merchandising ideas that food retailers could try out?

  • A guest chef or guest author on hand during prime shopping days would drive footfall to your store and add further interest in a BBQ/summer dining promotion.
  • Click and collect allows another viable shopping option for many customers in a hurry. Don’t forget it’s important, along with your bricks and mortar space, that your online space looks great too!

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