The in-store bakery is St Pierre’s “heartland,” said Neil Pittman, US sales director for the Manchester, UK-based brioche pioneer.
“When we launched into the US market in 2015, we saw an opportunity for brands in the ISB that was – at the time – totally untapped,” Pittman said. “Retailers were missing a trick, and over the past eight years, we’ve developed innovative merchandising – specifically to cater to the ISB shopper – that helps to drive sales for US retailers.”
The first thing to understand about merchandising ISB, Pittman said, is that the “shopper mission” in that particular area of the perimeter is much different from the one in center store.
The center store shopper is shopping “habitually,” Pittman said, selecting their staple items and moving to the next category.
That’s not how ISB works.
“Our research has shown that the ISB shopper is looking for inspiration, for new ideas and impressive items to help them entertain at home,” Pittman said. “This is more true now than it has ever been in the wake of a pandemic and increases in the cost of living. It ties in perfectly with St Pierre’s reason for being.”
St Pierre, he said, is focused on delivering a quality experience to consumers. As America’s number one brioche brand, the company is driving innovation and offering consistent premium quality goods.
But the brand experience – offering a taste of Paris with every meal – is something that starts in store – and that’s where good merchandising is so important.
“Our Eiffel Tower displays offer in-store theatre, but they do more than just draw attention to our products,” Pittman said. “They communicate our authenticity and premium offering. They act as a ‘trip-trigger,’ increasing footfall through the ISB department. And they’re helping retailers to increase sales in other areas of the store.”
St Pierre’s merchandising solutions, he added, help shoppers to understand that St Pierre products are a premium offering, and as such, they’re more likely to lead to upgrades in other perimeter purchases — meats and cheeses from the deli, for instance.
Finding the right fit
“Our merchandising solutions are there to inspire shoppers, but they must also offer convenience for retailers,” Pittman said. “We do that by working to understand shopper habits and retailer requirements.”
Take St Pierre’s classic Eiffel Tower displays. They’re stunning, yes, but they’re not practical for every store. That’s why the company developed a ‘table-topper’ version of the same stand.
“A lot of smaller stores’ ISB departments are merchandised via bakery tables, but our table topper allows us to drive a little of that theater, through eye-catching display, without requiring additional floorspace.”
St Pierre has also developed cross-merchandising solutions with its Parisian inspired ‘knee-knockers, which are specifically designed to allow retailers to cross-merchandise St Pierre products with chilled goods, such as meats and cheeses.
St Pierre develops its merchandising solutions in-house and offers them to retailers at no cost. That’s very appealing for buyers, Pittman said, especially when they find out they’re great at driving incremental sales.
As the category leader in brioche, it’s important that St Pierre continues to innovate, Pittman said. The company is currently trialing new displays that are inspired by the newsstands of Paris. The displays, designed for aisle ends, offer additional in-store theater with the aim of driving further shopper engagement.
“The ISB is more of a destination for shoppers, and if retailers consider that when laying out the store, they will do better,” Pittman said. “We would encourage retailers to give us feedback, too – what can we develop that will meet the needs of your store? As a brand, we’re collaborative because when our retailers are winning, so are we.”
Bakery is a fast-paced category and ISB is a great place to be, with ISB sales up 9% in the last year in a challenging shopper market, Pittman said.
And there’s no doubt that brioche is a growing category – both in value and volume. Retailers stand to benefit from understanding where growth is coming from, then capitalizing on that insight.
One way to do that, Pittman said, is by working with brands like St Pierre that can transform their ISBs.
This article is an excerpt from the October 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Merchandising feature and more in the digital edition here.