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Sizzling sales

The clue to que merchandising

Stephanie RichardsonStephanie Richardson
HOW DID IT GET TO BE AUGUST? IT SEEMS LIKE just yesterday that we were looking forward to the start of peak barbecuing season, and here we are already, thinking about how to move some of our inventory as the high-volume season starts to wrap up.
     And while the challenges this year have been obvious, might I suggest that you not abandon the category just yet? There are a number of ways to squeeze a few dollars out of your barbecue grills and accessories.

Point of sale

     Have large quantities of an accessory that you need to move? There may be ways to do it other than mark-downs. Before you go directly to a price reduction, try making the product a feature item in a display, and display lots of them. Build your window, sidewalk or floor display around this key item so that it stands out. This theory of abundance marketing forces your customer to take notice, ideally helping to generate sales.

Sell a lifestyle, not a product

     Larger items, such as grills, tend to lose their uniqueness if they're all lined up in a row. If you have the space, instead of lumping all of the like merchandise together, consider setting scenes, combining different types of products, much like a stage set. Want to move a particularly pricey grill? Display it in a setting with high-end grilling accessories, attractive patio furniture, a small water feature and some plants.

Grill-themedGrill-themed gift baskets make excellent wedding presents and are a great way to bundle and move product.
     Showing how various products can go together to create a whole environment helps to spark your customer's imagination. If you have the space, you can set up different settings showcasing different- priced goods. If you are more limited, showcase your higher-end products in small scenes - they're more eye-catching this way and show to greater advantage.

Bundle it

     Think of your merchandise in terms of gift-giving ideas. Create attractive gift packages that bundle together as themes. For example, create a "Starter" basket and include a "How to Grill" type of book, as well as a set of utensils, an instant-read thermometer, one each of a rub, marinade and sauce, and a grill cleaning brush. Or try a "For Poultry People" basket that includes chicken and turkey friendly rubs and marinades and flavored chips and smoke pellets.
     Think about creative packaging - arrange these accessories in a tin bucket, a wooden box, a terra cotta flower pot, or wrap them with a serving platter, etc. Remember that tailgating season is about to

Bargain-loversBargain-lovers will respond to pre-packaged baskets offering reduced pricing over individual products.
start, so buckets or other vessels with school logos will work well, too. In addition, consider that lots of about-to-weds are putting barbecue grills and accoutrement on their registry - and October is a huge wedding month.
     For additional punch, advertise the bundled items as pre-packaged gifts, selling at a reduced rate over products purchased individually. Go ahead - tell them how much they'll save when they buy them all. Everyone loves a bargain. You'll move more products and your customers have ready-made gifts for their favorite backyard bar-becuer.
     Just remember, Labor Day and firepit season may be right around the corner, but there's still time left to move some barbecue product.

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