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We all know that the British weather doesn’t always play ball, but when did we let that spoil our fun? Sitting on a picnic rug in the partial sunshine is a great tradition, and one all independent retailers can and should capitalise on.
1. Sell the dream with a show-stopping picnic display
Use merchandising to remind customers that the season of picnics is upon us! You can inspire your customers using simple props such as picnic rugs, a hamper with crockery and some champagne flutes, and a cleverly worded sign. What about “P-p-p-pick up a Picnic?”
We recently had a visit from Judy Roberts from Right Product Right Place to teach our team how to merchandise effectively, and she taught us that seasonal displays are a great way to encourage customers to impulse buy things they perhaps didn’t come to the shop for.
Shoppers love being inspired in farm shops and independents, and a few simple creative additions to a display can do this.
2. Practical makes perfect
We often find that the practicalities of a display are a hindrance to its aesthetics – for example, if you want some non-refrigerated and refrigerated goods together, how do you create an effective display?
Earlier this year, we recommissioned a countertop prep fridge from our commercial kitchen as an open deli fridge on one of our main shop displays. It’s always full of our freshly baked sausage rolls, pork pies, scotch eggs and other savoury items.
This method of display not only allows us to display these delicious treats alongside ambient picnic items but also is very easy for customers to shop from.
3. Homemade is where the heart is
What do shoppers want from a picnic? Asking yourself this question will enable you to add items to your display that are easy to eat on the go, but also too tempting to walk past.
We have greatly expanded the range of products we bake in our kitchen in time for picnic season. We truly believe that products made from scratch are what our customers love us for, and these amazing products make us unique and difficult to outcompete by larger retailers.
Our homemade breads, savoury baked goods and sweet treats are really popular and also tie together our shop and onsite restaurant in a way that makes sense to the customers.
4. Super signage
We have branded signs around the farm, clearly stating that picnicking is allowed, but strongly encouraging people to buy items for their picnic from our amazing farm shop.
Having clear signage means customers know where they stand, but also suggests that they pop into the shop, which they might not otherwise have done. Think carefully about the wording of your signage – you want them to be friendly but also clear.
Although picnicking is a great opportunity for independents, particularly those with open space where families can throw down a rug, if you’re not clear about what the rules are, you are at risk of people being unsure and not picnicking, or picnicking purely with items not from your retail outlet, and using your site as any other open space.
5. Eggciting events
On our free-range egg farm, we have plenty of open space and have recently started holding family-friendly events which allow customers an opportunity to explore our open spaces.
Picnics are a great food option if your café or restaurant struggles to serve takeaway when at capacity, and encouraging customers to buy items from your shop to eat on straw bales or on the grass is a great option.