New Items and Creating Variety at Retail From a Space Planner and Cook

Here in the space management department, everything we do is for bettering the customer profits while making sure any changes made to stores will be a smooth and organized process for our merchandisers and ultimately, the customers that shop with our customers. Those objectives are combined with making the aisles look uniform and organized visually. As a customer of our grocery retail customer myself, I’m always excited to see what we can do and how we help them stay a thriving business that I can continue to enjoy as a consumer as well.

As someone who loves to cook, I’m always looking for new and exciting products to try and recipes to challenge my capabilities. As an analyst that provides services to our grocery company customers, it’s very intriguing to see what products will be coming into our stores before others do. There are a few ways I get to see these changes coming, one is through our new item cut-in projects, and two, through our reset processes.

As we work on a new item cut-in, we are given a list of new items to put into the stores. Sometimes new items are a new flavor of something that is already on the shelves. Other times they are completely unique items that I’ve never heard of before, and to me, the more unique the item is, the more intrigued I am to try it. Many home cooks today find their recipes while scrolling through their favorite social media. (Check out a favorite recipe of mine for the most amazing roasted potatoes here). If any are like me, I want to be able to find the ingredients I need at my local grocery store and not have to run all over the place. Bringing unique and diverse products into local grocery is so important for that.

New item cut-ins and resets are essential for the client to bring in products that appeal to the existing consumers, as well as trying to bring in a new and diverse set of consumers that have a wide range of interests and palettes. Our company’s Inspire ERG did a presentation that focused on studying international aisles and Asian food trends to show how beneficial it can be to introduce Asian and Indian food products into stores around the nation. According to the study, the Asian American population is expected to double by the year 2060, which makes increasing Asian food choices so important for the growing interest and population for years to come.

There are many people that have a growing interest in cooking Asian and Indian foods which makes new items so important to introduce into stores in order to cater to the many diverse culinary cultures within communities. About a third of shoppers looked forward to the challenge of trying to cook new recipes. I consider myself included in that third, especially when it comes to cultural foods. I have tried pre-made Indian sauces that you add to your favorite proteins, it is an easy way to try something new to see if I eventually want to take on the challenge of making the same sauce from scratch. Making these products available to those shoppers ensures they come back and stock up for their next exciting recipe find or for a unique flavor experience in a quick weeknight meal. It surely keeps me coming back when I can browse a large variety of products for my recipe needs.

The same applies to the large store-change resets. Because we review much more information for a reset, I discover those unique items by looking at the plans and the survey photos. Our survey reviewing process is there to keep things organized and the process flowing smoothly for the merchandiser teams at the time of the resets. While looking at photos, we look at all the products on the shelves to make sure everything matches the plan-o-grams. It’s a great way to ensure that smooth process for our teams. A common side-effect for a space planner is the process of looking at a ton of photos of delicious food for hours makes one hungry.

There are so many levels within SAS that are there to ensure whatever client we are working with is happy and is benefiting from our services. We are there for the merchandisers, customers, and our client’s needs. When I work on my projects, I view things in an analytical way as well as from a customer’s point of view, after all, I have been shopping for groceries for a long time now. Sometimes it helps to see it from other points of view to help ensure we give our best input to our customers at retail.