Change can happen abruptly.

During the pandemic, food retailers were expected to stay operational while navigating supply obstacles to keep shelves stocked. But that wasn’t the only challenge.

Setting the stage for merchandising suddenly required extreme and costly measures to satisfy safety regulations and the customer’s increasing appetite for peace of mind.  

From integrating grab-and-go in the front of the store to installing convertible food guards or rethinking how to merchandise self-service food bars – retailers were forced to develop a flexible merchandising playbook that could help them re-strategize at a moment’s notice. 

It’s something that stuck. 

Years removed from the height of the pandemic, retailers are doubling down on their newfound adaptable merchandising approach. 

But with changing compliance regulations, constantly shifting food trends and the rise of shoppers’ at-home cooking fatigue, how can retailers keep their merchandising playbook as flexible, adaptable and results-driven as it should be? 

Here’s how.

Achieve Merchandising Flexibility for Recurring Occassions with Dual-Temp Cases

Medium-temperature or low-temperature? 

Why not both?

With dual-temp display cases, retailers can switch medium-temp products to low-temp products at any time: merchandising pumpkin spice coffee creamer during the fall, frozen turkey and ham during the winter, strawberry and whipped cream for the spring and then switching to ice cream for the hottest days of summer.

Looking to double up on a product during special promotions, like frozen fish fillets in two different departments for Lent? Scratching your head over an extra pallet of organic orange juice? With dual-temp reach-in and island display cases, you can easily switch out medium and low-temp products across your store.

But do dual-temp cases actually fit in your store?

Definitely. 

And cosmetically, you wouldn’t know the difference. Dual-temp display cases are available in multiple configurations – everything from adjustable dimensions, number of shelves and colors – to best suit your application requirements, department style and store layouts.

For smaller stores and big retailers, dual-temp display cases with a high level of customization offer the practicality and adaptability to merchandise effectively and consistently across day parts and departments.

Disruptive Merchandising from Anywhere in Your Store 

A shopper walks into your store with a limited amount of time. Stopping them in their tracks with a product not on their grocery list is out of the question, right?

With mobile self-contained natural refrigerant R-290 display cases, you can structure departments conveniently yet surprisingly. Shoppers get what they want – and you get to show them the products you want them to want.

Whether it’s a weekend sale for your independent store or a planned strategy from the head merchandiser, you can set up the front of your store or any department of your choice to grab the shoppers’ attention with eye-catching displays – this is successful disruption of traditional merchandising. 

Just roll over a mobile self-contained display case to your desired location and fill it with strategically selected meal-inspiring products.

Let’s say it’s Taco Tuesday. 

Fill your mobile case with marinated flank steak, bell peppers, shredded cheese and tortillas. Finger snap. Just like that, you’ve made a disruptive merchandising spot for everything shoppers need to make fajitas. 

Something still missing?

Add ready-to-heat rice, freshly-made flan and sparkling flavored water and now you’ve designed the ultimate meal destination that feels impossible to walk away from empty-handed. (The best part is you can change out that “destination case” every day to keep shoppers’ meal options fresh and trendy.) 

Using mobile cases to disrupt is a major benefit for stores with the freedom to imagine new ways to merchandise. But for stores with a stick-to-the-planogram approach, mobile cases also allow for consistency (with the capability for spontaneity when needed).

Regardless of your store, you can present convenience anyway you want because of the versatility of R-290 natural refigerant mobile cases.

Accommodating Store Needs with the Right Glass Style 

There’s more to glass than meets the eye.

The glass style of specialty service cases – whether vertical, curved or flat – can completely alter the appearance of your products, the allure of your department and even the efficiency of your personnel.

Vertical glass – a modern style – offers a unique advantage that curve and flat designs do not: eliminating glare on the glass from exterior lighting to keep the shopper’s line of sight with the product completely uninterrupted. 

Plus, with the ability to swing, flip, slide and completely rotate to open, vertical glass can make workflow more efficient while complementing your store’s architecture and aesthetic.

For more traditional retailers, curved and flat glass offers a timeless design, with straightforward opening and good merchandise visibility (albeit with the potential of product-obstructing glare). 

Depending on your preference, application purpose and store aesthetic, you may favor one glass style over another.

For instance, some retailers may want a vertical glass style in their bakery to give their cakes a more sophisticated presentation to shoppers with a sweet tooth. On the other hand, some retailers may prefer a flat glass style to give a more European feel to differentiate from their competition.  

By selecting display cases designed to accommodate different glass style options, you can remain adaptive to accommodate your shoppers and your company's brand.

Preparing for the Expected (and Unexpected)

You may not need it now, but you may need it later.

While razor-thin margins can make retailers reluctant to invest in merchandising playbooks, the benefit of adaptability far outweighs a minimal upfront investment.

Even if you find yourself in a position where you don’t need dual-temp options, wiring capabilities or a specific number of shelves for a display case right now, it’s far more disruptive (and costly) to your store to make modifications after installation.

And if you’re not taking full advantage of the features you’ll want in the future, is your merchandising playbook as flexible as it can be?

While you have enough foresight to prepare for upcoming changes, like the push toward sustainability and certain consumer preferences, there can also be unforeseen circumstances on the horizon.

But with a flexible merchandising playbook in hand, you can stay as ready as possible to adapt to whatever may come – even when it happens without warning.

Marjorie Proctor is a merchandising expert for Hillphoeinx, which is part of Dover Food Retail. Proctor has decades of industry experience, helping food retailers across the country make the most out of their merchandising. She can be reached at [email protected].