Free digital copy
Get Speciality Food magazine delivered to your inbox FREEGet your free copy
Having a great selection of cheese is step one for a successful cheesemonger; step two is ensuring that the display helps boost sales. Customers shop with their eyes, so an attractive display is essential. Depending on stock, cheeses are often grouped together at the counter by region or type in order to make it easier for customers to hone in on what they want.
Stephen Fleming, owner of Leeds-based George & Joseph Cheesemongers, displays by type. He explains, “We have three full refrigerated display counters in our shop. One contains all our soft cheeses, the second has hard blues, hard goat and sheep cheese. The third counter has hard cow’s milk cheeses.” At Hartington Cheese & Wine Co. it’s important that local produce is also highlighted in a dedicated section.
Director Claire Millner says, “We tend to put all the blue cheeses together and all the local cheeses and then the rest of our cheeses are randomly placed in the counter. Blues are by far our most popular sellers, as are the local cheeses, so we like to make these stand out.”
It’s important that customers are able to see the full picture, so consider having a big wheel of cheese on display, if space allows, to create a visual impact. It’s also worth surveying the cheese range from the shopper’s perspective – what appears to be working from behind the counter may not be as visually pleasing on the other side. Ensure that cheeses at the back and right at the front don’t get tucked away or hidden from view, and it’s good practice to keep the counter and cutting equipment clean and tidy at all times.
Communication is key
Whether customers are waiting to be served or simply perusing the produce, it’s important that clear signage is put in place. Many shoppers will be unfamiliar with all the different varieties on offer, so signs that easily communicate name and type, as well as background story when appropriate, are necessary to the shopping experience. Be sure to highlight unique facts about particular cheeses or producers that can spark a conversation, allowing the chance for knowledge to be passed onto customers.
Stephen explains, “Signage is very important to us. We recently redesigned and updated all our cheese display signs. As well as the key information items (price per 100g, animal type, vegetarian/ animal rennet, pasteurised/ unpasteurised) we include in our signs a brief description of the cheese, which we try to keep fun as well as informative. Since making the changes we’ve found customers spend a bit more time reading the signs and making choices based on them – they still ask my team for advice and suggestions but from a more informed point of view.”
When you’re happy with how signage looks in-store, don’t forget to shout about it on social media and on your website. Instagram in particular is all about aesthetics and can encourage some creativity when it comes to planning displays, alongside the opportunity to highlight unique stories. Considering where to keep accompaniments such as chutneys, crackers and even wine pairings also comes into play.
At George & Joseph, natural cheese companions are kept close to the counter. Stephen says, “We display some of our accompaniments near the cheese display – although our shop is quite small so the main displays of chutneys, crackers, wines and the like is pretty close to the cheese in the first place. We have signage to suggest pairings for wines and cheeses, and often sample cheeses with matching crackers and chutneys.”
Highlighting different pairings on a regular basis keeps the information fresh and regular customers can increase their knowledge each time they visit. If the layout of the shop allows, a dedicated stand next to the cheese counter with the top picks of the moment makes a great addition.
For the full article download the April issue here.