August 8, 2011

Lay-Out of Kosher Sections Difference between Profits and More Profits

New York…by Menachem Lubinsky…Rebecca is a regular shopper at the Shoprite Brooklyn store and seems to know exactly where the store’s extensive selection of kosher is located. She admits that it took her awhile to become familiar with the large store but she soon learned that many of the items, including kosher meats and dairy, were in the back of the store. In many other supermarkets throughout the country, the signage and profile is more pronounced with the kosher deli often visible from the entrance as are such sections as kosher bakery. According to Yakov Yarmove of SuperValu that includes many Category One kosher stores, this variable is commonplace, depending on whether the store is a well-known kosher store or is in a highly competitive environment seeking to make inroads in the local kosher market. What is clear from interviews with nearly a dozen supermarket executives is that layout can affect a store’s bottom line. The biggest advantage for the higher profile kosher sections is that it also attracts many non-traditional kosher consumers in addition to perhaps driving more sales from kosher customers. But, say store executives, “there are many little things in the layout of kosher that can significantly increase sales.” Several favored using end-caps of specific categories like Israeli foods, snacks, or grape juice. Others suggested specific displays that relate to Shabbat (i.e. takeout, dips, salads, flowers) beginning on Wednesday. Yet, many stores that are well-stocked with kosher items do not flag their kosher foods, relying instead on familiarity by customers. At least one distributor felt that even the well-known Category One stores would benefit from better positioning and signage of kosher sections. He pointed out that he has seen sales increase by 10% - 15% by moving a kosher item into a more noticeable position, sometimes just moving it closer to the entrance. Some stores of late have moved kosher items in closer proximity to natural and organic aisles, particularly since so many of these specialty items are kosher certified. The results have been extremely good, say the retailers. If there is one area of consternation amongst consumers about layout issues, it is that not enough attention is devoted to new products, and from the evidence kosher consumers like new products.