As online grocery sales surge — even for products in the fresh perimeter that consumers have traditionally preferred buying instore — it’s more important than ever for retailers to find ways of bringing people back to brick-and-mortar stores and keeping them there.

One perfect way to do that is to create seasonal promotions that stimulate the senses and generate LTO buzz, offering shoppers a special experience they can only get once a year.   

Seasonal promotions and offerings “are at the heart of what we do,” said Kevin Miller, chief marketing officer of The Fresh Market.

It’s part of the retailer’s mission, he said, to make both every day and special occasions extraordinary for its customers.

One big way The Fresh Market gives its customers inspiration to help enjoy those occasions—along with ideas for celebrating— is through its monthly magazine.

For example, beginning in August, the retailer helps its customers celebrate the magic of fall through the flavors, smells and textures of the season’s favorite treats, like pumpkin spice, sunflowers and fall mums and fresh-from-the-orchard apples.

September may feature ideas and treats to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

October, of course, is all about Halloween, and in November, The Fresh Market will incorporate promotional, limited-time items in its stores to help customers make the most of their Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.

“For the last 40 years, we’ve been in the business of making every season special,” Miller said. “We want to help our guests take a moment to savor the season’s best with family and friends. Whether it’s a seasonal meal, cup of our delicious seasonal coffee, or a glass of wine or beer, our goal is to help our guests pause to enjoy family and friends through special offerings that bring their celebrations together.”

Regardless of the season, The Fresh Market’s “curators” scour the globe, Miller added, on the lookout for unique items that the chain highlights as “special finds.”

“They’re ingredients or products that you can’t find anywhere else – and could be just the perfect touch to make traditional seasonal recipes better than ever.”

Thinking seasonally — year-round

The fall and winter holidays often get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to seasonal promotions, and deservedly so. But retailers are missing out on great opportunities if they don’t look at other times of the year to take advantage of promotions.

For Valentine’s Day 2022, for instance, The Fresh Market gave its customers the chance to select their holiday favorites from a collection of savory appetizers, sizzling dinner and sweet dessert options.

With everything from the scent of velvety roses to the sound of steak on the stove and the pop of the champagne cork, The Fresh Market created a memorable, at-home ambiance for the most romantic day of the year.

The retailer’s “Valentines’ Day Meal for Two” included everything needed for a five-star, beautiful feast:

Choice of two selections:

  • Premium Choice Chateaubriand Cut Filet Mignon
  • Ultimate Lump Crab Cakes
  • Chilean Sea Bass Portion (7 oz)

Choice of one:

  • Mascarpone Whipped Potatoes with Rosemary
  • Asparagus with Diced Red Peppers and Sea Salt Butter Steamer Bag
  • Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries
  • Macaron Hearts Reusable Bag

Wine experts also provided ideal pairing recommendations to complete a couple’s perfect bundle.

And when guests picked up their dinner for two, they also received a rose as a personal thank you for choosing The Fresh Market as their Valentine’s Day headquarters.

Meanwhile, in the instore bakery, The Fresh Market offered a series of LTO treats for Valentine’s Day, including:

  • Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries: Carefully selected fresh strawberries hand dipped and decorated in-store. Dark, white or marbled chocolate and new offerings—dipped in nonpareils, special sprinkles and/or edible glitter.
  • Fresh Fruit Tarts: Beloved, specially made fresh fruit tarts boast a shortbread tart shell coated with chocolate and filled with house-made pastry cream. Each one is generously topped with fresh fruit from The Fresh Market produce department.
  • Cheesecakes: Elegant Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake, which combines New York Cheesecake, signature chocolate cookie crust, Belgian chocolate and a strawberry swirl or Gourmet Cheesecake topped with plump, Washington state-grown strawberries.
  • French Macarons: French imported, all-natural, wheat-free macarons. Available in new seasonal flavors; Rose Lychee, Blueberry, Vanilla and Raspberry.
  • Pull Apart Cake: A perfectly sharable dessert made with frosted cupcakes to create a unique, elegant experience. Available in chocolate, red velvet and vanilla, it's topped with a Belgian chocolate heart and festive sprinkles.

Pumpkins: star of the season

Fall is one of the biggest times of the year for seasonal promotions at The Fresh Market. And the star of the show is definitely pumpkin, which can be found in all of these seasonal products this year:

  • Doughnut Muffins
  • French Macaron
  • Gluten Free Spice Cookies
  • Granola
  • Mini Muffins
  • Pound Cake
  • Hand Decorated Cupcakes
  • Cheesecake
  • Biscotti
  • Mini Scones
  • Donuts
  • Almonds
  • Pretzels
  • Ravioli