Experts answered: How to increase sales in grocery stores?

One of the most important goals for any grocer is to increase sales. In this article, we’ve asked 4 world-renowned retail experts a simple, yet challenging question: How to increase sales in grocery stores? 

Discover what grocers can do to delight shoppers and lift sales. How about FMCG brands? How can the manufacturers impact in-store sales? Let’s see what expert tips and tricks we received from Nicole Leinbach, Carol Spieckerman, Jeff Sward, Mike Anthony, and James Tenser. 

Grocers increase sales in-store

1. Provide a one-of-a-kind customer experience

Shoppers are expecting much more than products when they go to stores. Customers want a convenient, yet entertaining experience when they enter a store. Try to provide a seamless experience from end to end. For example, offer automated checkout or BOPIS options for your customers. 

"My advice to grocery retailers big and small is to focus on customer experience, particularly in stores. It may sound obvious, yet shoppers are frustrated by long lines, the inability to get help, and less-than-efficient automation, particularly automated checkout. Many grocers have invested heavily in digital capabilities and convenience at the expense of engagement and interaction at the store level. 

Consequently, shoppers have less incentive to browse, explore, and discover which can compromise sales in higher-margin categories and inhibit new brand and product introductions. 2023 will be the year of the store and grocers would be wise to focus and invest accordingly."

Carol Spieckerman, President of Spieckerman Retail

2. Cross merchandising for the win

Many customers go to stores with a shopping list. However, they rarely end up buying only what’s on their list. Why? Because they find related products they might need. 

"Cross-merchandising is a great way to show your customers what they might need. For instance, near the flour and sugar, you can add a few baking dishes or cupcake trays to inspire shoppers. 

Cross-merchandising items is always a great way to boost sales. Through merchandising, grocery retailers can strategically influence consumers on what to buy - even if they were not planning to make those purchases. Offering complimentary recipe cards or links to recipes online is a great way to help engage the customer's interest in these items, as well."

Nicole Leinbach, Founder of RetailMinded

3. Inspire shoppers to try something new

Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be boring. You can find ways to inspire shoppers to try new products or to reinvent the way they prepare their meals. For example, you can add recipes or tell people how to combine different products. 

"Help shoppers discover new and different ways to prepare the same old ingredients. How to add one new ingredient or spice to give their menu some variety.  Mannequins give that kind of guidance in apparel. Can digital signage provide that kind of guidance in grocery stores...? "

 Jeff Sward, Retail Influencer and CEO of Merchandising Metrics

4. Always in-stock

Going back to the basics with this piece of advice: On-shelf Availability is crucial for sales. While it might sound redundant, out-of-stock products have a negative impact on sales. Also, they impact customer satisfaction and might make your shoppers switch stores if this happens often. 

Inventory management and accurate forecasting will help you keep your shelves stocked and customers satisfied. This will ultimately have a positive impact on sales. 

“Inventory accuracy is the foundational discipline beneath every other retail performance metric. Poor OSA (on-shelf availability) results in lost sales. The solution is not more safety stock, as this ties up cash and leads to excess perishability and markdowns, as well as increased labor costs.

Accurate ordering practices depend on three things: an accurate perpetual inventory; an accurate demand forecast; and a computer-automated ordering process.

 This does not sound sexy, but it enables your merchandising and promotion plans to reach their full potential. When shoppers consistently find desired products available, that translates into trust and more repeat visits.”

James Tenser, President of VSN Strategies

What can FMCG brands do to increase sales?

Boosting sales is not only for grocers. While they are the end seller, FMCG brands still need to make their products as “shoppable” as possible. Here are a few tips and tricks on how brands can influence in-store sales. 

1. Understand your shoppers

Maybe this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s the most important thing brands and retailers need to do: Understand their shoppers. Try to see it from their point of view: What do they want and need? What are their blockers when it comes to making a purchase? How can I make it easier and more exciting for them to purchase my products?

“Ask the 'why not' question. Understand who your target shopper is, and what you want them to do. Then ask 'why not'? Why is the shopper not doing what we want them to do? By understanding the barrier to purchase we are able to select in-store tactics that best overcome that barrier.”
Mike Anthony, Global CEO at Engage ltd

2. Promotions

It is important to think about the needs of your customers. Considering that prices are constantly increasing, it might be a great idea to implement some in-store promotions. Depending on the products you sell, you can try out BOGO (buy one, get one free) or discounts to attract more shoppers and effectively promote your products. 

3. Customer education starts at the manufacturer

Yes, fresh produce is not rocket science. However, it is always nice to tell your customers how they can eat or prepare your products in the best way possible. Providing guidance shows that you care about your customers. Also, like in the case below, it can promote sustainability. 


"Teach" or "teach how". One example of a great way to increase sales in-store is to teach customers how to “utilize your product”. Clever packaging of fresh produce so that it doesn't all spoil at once!

Jeff Sward, CEO of Merchandising Metrics

4. Innovate your campaigns

Apart from promoting your products with classic POP displays like end caps and wobblers, you should also try some innovative alternatives like Tokinomo, the robotic POSM. Because of its light, sound, and motion technology, Tokinomo makes your products the stars of the show in-store. Shoppers will be curious to see which products are talking to them at the point of sale. 

Increase sales in-store

Increasing sales in-store requires a combination of strategic planning, effective implementation, and ongoing evaluation. By incorporating advice from retail experts, such as focusing on inventory management, promoting cross-merchandising, and utilizing technology to enhance the shopping experience, retailers can create a welcoming and engaging environment that encourages customers to make purchases.

 It's important to keep in mind that consumer behaviors and preferences can shift rapidly, so staying up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations is essential for long-term success. By following these best practices and adapting to the changing retail landscape, retailers can maximize their in-store sales potential and build lasting relationships with their customers.

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