10 Ideas & Reminders to Help You Ace This Upcoming Thanksgiving Sales Period
Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 23, 2017.
PLAN NOW while there’s still the luxury of time.
Thanksgiving offers a great opportunity to maximize sales and profits through massive, fresh and seasonal and holiday related displays. Some of your displays will stay up through Christmas. Good planning and strong execution for this holiday will establish the momentum you need to carry you through the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Creativity will encourage impulse sales and maximize profits. Based on our experience, your customers will put a lot of effort into making sure that their Thanksgiving holiday dinner is perfect. Even consumers that “shop around” most of the year prefer to buy all of their ingredients from one store for major cooking holidays.
10 IDEAS & REMINDERS to help you ace this upcoming Thanksgiving Sales Period!
1. Nut and Baking Displays should be built by November 13! Nuts are not just for baking anymore, they’re good sellers as healthy, high energy snacking for both our organic and conventional consumers.
- – What to Include: In-shell and shelled Mixed Nuts and Walnuts, Raisins, Dried Cranberries, Baking Dates, Medjool Dates, Fresh Chestnuts and Roasted/Peeled Chestnuts and Dried Figs. Pistachios and Almond displays for snacking can be included.
- – Refill: Initial California shelled and in-shell conventional nut orders have already shipped. Re-order early so you can stay ahead as product sells down. Don’t get caught short on the days before Thanks- giving without enough product where you could have your department filled with customers but empty displays. Nut and Baking product will sell well through New Year’s.
2. Convenience and Recipe-Ready Products save stressed out hosts time and sell great the week before Thanksgiving. Offer ready-to-use products that are washed and trimmed, or peeled and cut, or in a microwavable package.
- – Trimmed & Washed Microwaveable Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts, Peeled and Cubed Butternut Squash and the best sellers.
- – Brands like Taylor Farms Organic and Green Giant Bagged Vegetables and Ocean Mist’s Steam & Serve line will be great sellers
- – Fresh Cut Vegetables & Fruits along with Veggie & Fruit Trays – whether purchased or store made –either way, have enough in stock!
- – Stuffing Mix (Diced Onion & Celery with Herbs) and Soup Mix are good movers too
3. Build a Big Sweet Potato Display to capture Big Sales! Promote the full variety Organic and Conventional Sweet Potatoes (Yams) and specialty varietal sweet potatoes with some aggressive pricing too!
- – TIP #1: In areas where “sweet potato pie” is popular, jumbo sweet potatoes are ideal.
- – TIP #2: Post a full case price.
- – TIP #3: Add 3lb Bagged Sweet Potatoes for November.
- – TIP #4: Purple is hot! Add Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes for consumers that want a conversation-sparking side dish.
4. Potatoes & Onions – the staples matter.
This is the time of year to build large displays of Organic and Conventional bagged and loose Potatoes & Onions, shallots and garlic.
- – The best varieties for MASHING include: Yellow/Yukon Gold, White potatoes, Red Skin (for skin-on recipes) and Idaho russets (for fluffy texture).
- – Fingerling varieties and Baby Potatoes are ideal for ROASTING.
5. Classic Thanksgiving Ingredients for holiday side dishes drive sales. Be ready with:
- – Organic and Conventional: Green Beans are a favorite! Broccoli, Asparagus (green, purple and white), Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Green Cabbage are in peak demand.
- – Did you know? Thanksgiving week sales are often higher than at any other week of the year for: White Mushrooms, Fresh Cranberries, Brussels Sprouts, Rutabagas, Parsley, Fresh Herbs (including poultry blend), Leeks, Baby Peeled and Whole Carrots, Green Beans and White Pearl and Cipollini Onions.
6. Pay attention to Fresh Herbs:
- – Pre-book your FRESH HERBS. Don’t wait and be disappointed the day before Thanksgiving when you can’t get more in.
- – Poultry Mix, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage and Chives will be the top 5 fastest moving herb packs for Thanksgiving.
7. Pay attention to Stuffing and Filling ingredients:
Think about the items your customers add to Stuffings, Filling and to their Turkey:
- – Celery or Celery Hearts and Yellow Onions or Sweet Onions are on almost everyone’s shopping list. Be ready and fresh.
- – Chestnuts, Bunched Parsley, Sage, Apples, Cranberries and Raisins are key stuffing ingredients in many recipes too.
8. Greens Sell! Organic and Conventional Collards, Kale, Mustard, Turnip Greens are extremely important for many ethnic and vegetarian holiday dinners.
- – TIP #1: Get pre-books in for Washed & Chopped Collards and Kale bags.
- – TIP #2: Get pre-books in for bunched Collards and Kale at stores where that is a in-demand traditional side dish.
- – TIP #3: Post a case price for CV Collards where appropriate.
9. “Whoops, I forgot these sell so well for Thanksgiving!” Some items just move surprisingly well around Thanksgiving. Be ready on:
- – Artichokes and Fennel (Anise), Cole Slaw mixes, Bananas with a good yellow color are a “MUST” on display, Pomegranates and Pomegranate Arils, Persimmons and Grapes, Jarred fruits and citrus salad; Jumbo and XL Fruit like Apples, Pears and jumbo Citrus, Clementine and Satsuma Mandarins, Fresh Apple Ciders, Pineapples and peeled & cored Pineapples.
- PS. Tofurkeys are very popular with your vegetarian customers. Natural and Organic Retailers, don’t get caught short and disappoint your customers.
- PPS. Beginning Black Friday, Lettuce and Tomato displays for leftovers are perfect for the weekend after Thanksgiving.
10. Labor Scheduling and Order Planning can MAKE or BREAK your Thanksgiving Sales.
Don’t be waiting for your delivery on items that you know will sell heavily for the holiday. PRE-BOOKS on key holiday items are strongly encouraged. You can always back off on your orders following the holiday, but you can’t sell what you don’t have in your store. Deliveries will be available on Wednesday 11/22, but that should be for last minute fill in and highly perishable only.
PLANNING BY DELIVERY DAY:
Thur 11/16, Fri 11/17, & Sat 11/18: Load up in hard items.
Sat 11/18 & Mon 11/20: Load up on fresh items.
Tues 11/21 & Wed 11/22: Order for fill-ins and highly perishables.
By having product in well ahead of Thanksgiving, you and your staff can be on the sales floor filling shelves instead of being in the back room waiting on and unloading trucks.
Your produce department should be set and ready to shop by 9:00 AM Monday through Wednesday for your customers’ convenience. Don’t get behind the ‘8’ ball or you’ll disappoint your customers. Stay ahead and your holiday business will go smoothly. Expect a 5% sales bump the week before Thanksgiving and a 15-20% bump the week of Thanksgiving. Sales will then likely drop 15-25% for the week after Thanksgiving.
Schedule evening help on Sunday through Tuesday. Have your evening associates fill all hard goods like potatoes, onions and roots, along with semi-perishable product lines such as juices, dressings, dips, nuts, dried fruits, etc. Most of the fruit counters can also be packed-out in the evenings – apples, pears, citrus, pineapples, bagged fruit and melons. Stock your greens, mushrooms, berries and grapes in the morning before opening.
Be Organized! Be Fresh & Full! And Be Successful! Have a great holiday! And THANK YOU for being our customer!
Want more advice? Contact your Four Seasons Produce Merchandiser or Sales Rep!