We sat down with Deb Kreider, director of meat and seafood at Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based GIANT Food Stores, for an exclusive look at how the East Coast chain sets its stores apart through innovative seafood merchandising.
What is GIANT’S philosophy/best practices for merchandising seafood in the fresh perimeter?
At GIANT, quality is among the most important factors when it comes to seafood. Our practice is that if you wouldn’t buy it, don’t put it out. Sustainability is also paramount. We only sell 100% sustainable seafood in our fresh case. We encourage our seafood associates to create excitement in the service case by creating impactful visual displays with clear and informative signage.
How has the company’s approach to seafood merchandising changed over the years?
We are constantly changing to meet the needs of our customers. Our customers continue to ask for Wild Caught, sourced from within the U.S., seafood. We have also seen more of a demand for salmon over the years, so we continue to expand our selection and place salmon in the ad at least monthly. We’re also always exploring ways to offer more convenient meal solutions to help make our customers lives easier.
What makes a successful seafood case?
A successful seafood case starts with high-quality, fresh product, offered at a great value with engaging and knowledgeable associates ready to serve customers.
How do you decide what is merchandised in the full-service case and what in self-serve?
We look to display fresh fish, shrimp, salads, shellfish, and value-added offerings in our service case. For self-service, we merchandise packaged seafood items, such as steamed shrimp trays, marinades and sauces, tray pack fish and packaged smoked salmon, for grab and go options.
What role do promotions, signage, instore videos and other factors play in merchandising seafood?
We see a lift in seafood when the product is advertised so we continue to advertise products that we know our customers are looking for; seafood is featured on the cover of our ad weekly. Signage is used to highlight promotions as well as product. Seafood customers are constantly looking for education on seafood - they want to know where it comes from, how to prepare it and the best cooking methods.
What role do employees play in merchandising seafood at GIANT and MARTIN’S Food Markets?
Our associates play a significant role in merchandising seafood. They know their customers and are constantly placing special orders for customer requests. Our associates merchandise their store according to what sells in their store. They are given the flexibility to display the products that have been proven to sell in their store. The Seafood associates create our center case displays daily. Each store is given creative freedom to wow our customers focusing on the featured ad or seasonal items.
What separates a GIANT or MARTIN’S Food Market seafood case from its competitors’?
Our seafood departments highlight fresh, high-quality, seasonally relevant seafood. All product carried in our service cases are 100% sustainable. We have full service cases in most of our stores, which allows us to have the freshest product and associates who can help educate the customer on product preparation and cooking.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
At GIANT, when it comes to our seafood department, it’s all about sustainability, having the freshest product with great quality and providing a value to our customers. By delivering on all of these fronts consistently, our customers will come back each week to purchase seafood from our stores.