On December 2-5, 2021, industry members gathered at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando for SOHO Expo 2021, the “show with a Big and Natural Heart.” A main goal of the event was to bring retailers the tools they need to help their business survive and thrive in modern retail, and the show delivered with a day of educational sessions, including a keynote presentation by supermarket consultant Harold Lloyd titledHere Comes The Future! Are You Prepared For An Apocalypse Or A Renaissance?

Successful merchandising strategies were a key focus of several experts. Here, 3 gems.
  1. Take the customer’s POV. “Step back and look at your store as a customer,” Chase Ballard, Director of Wellness, Detwiler’s Farm Market, advised attendees during a talk titled How to Increase Sales Without Saying a Word. Before entering the store, stand outside for 20 seconds in your parking lot, then stand by your front door. Have your employees do the same. “What do you see? It is very vital to reset your brain to see what the customer sees.” You may notice a display that’s lacking, and if you do just a little bit extra, Ballard says, you can attract the customer and sell like crazy.
  2. Invest in a chalkboard. “When we are thinking about a ‘silent salesperson,’ we need to be thinking about the consumer’s beginner mindset and telling a story through signage,” suggested Mari Geier, Owner, Nuts N’ Berries, in a panel with Ballard. If your salespeople are busy, what will the consumer who isn’t familiar with natural products think as they look at your shelves? To help them out, signage is key, and eye-catching displays make the difference. Enlist a crafty team to add that dazzle, and turn to pinterest or google images for inspo. Mari’s idea: “If your endcap is 3 feet, get a chalkboard header to put at the top of the endcap and let that creative person on staff go to town. Give them $50 for a craft store and let them create.” The best part: You can easily change things up with a chalkboard, without investing much time or money.
  3. Implement the 4 corners strategy. Lloyd delivered a wealth of actionable tips during two keynote presentations. One pearl: Make sure every corner of your store has something exciting. Perhaps a low-sugar candy bar in one corner, a popcorn stand in another. Make it interesting, and definitely not a stack of boxes, which Lloyd has seen in stores and which, he stressed, looks sloppy and is a missed opportunity to engage shoppers.
Stay tuned towww.WholeFoodsMagazine.comfor more from SOHO!