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Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 617-7300

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner

Video Script

Title: Florida Tropical Fruits - Marketing
Type: Informational/Promotional
Length: 10:00
Year: 1997

The produce section is the number one priority by which shoppers choose their grocery store. Most customers want to shop a produce department with tremendous variety; it gives them a feeling of abundance, choice and quality. They also feel catered to, and that you are trying to meet their every need. Adding a tropical fruit display upgrades your store ... enhancing its image as an exciting place to shop.

Since nine out of 10 customers pass through the produce department, you have an incredible opportunity to generate higher sales by offering an exciting new choice -- tropical fruit.

Now that your store carries tropical fruit, how do you sell it to your customers? Since two-thirds of all purchases made in the produce section are based on impulse sales, you want your customers excited by what you have to offer.

Every minute they spend in your department increases the potential for sales.

Be aware that your customers' enthusiasm and natural curiosity could be dampened if you are unprepared for their questions.

A knowledgeable staff, samples, demonstrations, and signage can open your customers' mind to tropicals, as well as their wallets.

Your staff's knowledge of tropical fruit will help the customer feel secure in purchasing tropicals for the first time.

In-store demonstrators, cashiers, produce people and employees should know what each fruit is, what it tastes like, how it can be eaten, and how to make sure it's ripe.

Produce Manager: We gave the staff samples in the employee's lounge during break. It is an efficient and effective use of time and got them familiar with each tropical fruit.

Remember, as a produce department specialist your attention to detail can make your department the most exciting and profitable department in the store.

Your objective in designing a display is to present produce your customers can't do without. Perception is reality, so appearing to have an abundance of produce makes your department attractive, and that leads to sales.

Produce Manager: We found the best way to give the appearance of abundance is selling tropical fruit in a cornucopia. Grouping tropicals this way, we took advantage of their greatest assets: the display is always fresh and colorful.

"Breaking color," or separating fruit by contrasting colors, adds excitement for impulse sales. Use it to your advantage.

Having a stand-alone tropical ftuit display eliminates the need for huge numbers of fruit in stock; a few select pieces placed in the cornucopia can give that impression. It also gives you added flexibility in which ftuits you group; if a particular tropical is out of season, you can substitute with another and still give the feeling of abundance. When tropicals are grouped together they appear fresher and don't have that "picked over" look.

Other display techniques include the "waterfall effect." This cascade-style approach uses little produce to create a mountain of fruit. Roll-offs, field bins and expanded displays also give the impression of a well-stocked tropical fruit section. And don't forget end caps, they will always sell product.

Produce Manager: We arrange tropicals next to counters and displays of our most popular items. Placed near apples or grapes, for instance, tropicals become the impulse and high-profit items we want to promote.

Be creative in where you display your tropicals. Tie-ins with other departments can give your customers new ideas on how they can best enjoy tropical fruit.

Have ripe fruit available in the display ... some people will want to eat it that day. "Ripe, Ready to Eat" stickers will help people in their selection.

And make sure the product is accessible. Hard-to-reach fruit won't be bought.

Whichever display technique you use, check it often. Maintenance is very important in giving your produce department the freshest, most appealing look.

When it comes to tropical fruits, remember: if you present attractive displays of good-looking produce at a competitive price, your customers will buy.

Any attractively printed promotional materials enhance your sales.

Materials like posters, banners, recipe cards and ripening technique brochures all create an environment that encourages consumers to buy, and should always be kept in stock.

Research has shown that preparation tips and nutritional information can also be particularly valuable. Well-conceived point-of-purchase materials have a picture of the fruit next to the name for easy identification.

Produce Manager: Using price cards with hand-written information gave us more flexibility than cards with pre-printed prices.

Besides print materials, use point-of-purchase videos to help sell tropicals. Showing videos adds to the excitement of your display and help increase consumer awareness of tropical fruit. Ask your distributor about getting tapes.

Point-of-purchase materials can also be used to promote seasonal products or holiday themes. For tropicals which only appear in produce sections for a short time, like lychees and longans, "It's Coming"-type ads should start prior their season. Remember to advertise whenever possible.

It's important to note that while these fruit are called tropical, many of them are grown here in Florida. Many point-of-purchase print materials, like shelf talkers, printed price cards, and signage are available to help you highlight Florida's tropical produce.

Produce Manager: We also got involved in the "Fresh from Florida" incentive program. Any time we advertise Florida produce using the "Fresh from Florida" logo, a portion of our advertising dollars came back to the store.

Representatives of the "Fresh from Florida" program are always available to provide information year round.

Another way to get customers interested in tropical fruit is by offering a "Fruit of the Month Club" for kids under 12. Each month members get to sample a free piece of tropical fruit. This introduces kids to new fruits, and their parents to new products.

Recipes aimed at kids can also be used to promote tropicals as an exciting way for kids to get their "Five-a-Day" fruits and vegetables.

Value-added sample packs and onfloor demonstrations are an efficient way to use bruised or damaged fruit that would otherwise be thrown away. Fruit packs or chilled, ready-to-eat sections, priced accordingly, are a great way to promote and sell ripe tropical fruit. Slice it and make sales.

Of course, nothing can take the place of sampling the unique flavor of tropical fruit. On-floor demonstrations, whether they are manned or un-manned, are a great way to give your customers a chance to enjoy a new taste. Sampling lets the customer become more familiar with each distinct tropical fruit.

Samples lead to sales, if you follow a few simple rules: First your samples must always be ripe. This can't be stressed enough. Nothing will squash interest in a new fruit than tasting a bitter, green sample.

Produce Manager: If a customer thinks a bitter unripe sample is what a fresh tropical fruit tastes like they'll be disappointed and quickly move on. You'll lose that sale and many more.

Your demonstration area must be maintained. In a manned demo, a friendly demonstrator in a clean and neat work space will entice shoppers as well as let them know that they are receiving a safe and wholesome piece of fruit.

Produce Manager: Although larger, fancy demos are visually more fun, simple demos can work too. Stand-alone sampling kits which don't require extra staffing are available.

Unmanned sampling displays can be effective, so frequently check your demo area to assure that it is clean with plenty of chilled fruit. Plates, toothpicks and napkins should be on hand and a trash receptacle close by.

In both situations information should be readily available. Your demonstrator needs to be knowledgeable to be effective. He should be ready to answer questions about ripeness and preparation, what most people do with the particular fruit, and offer recipes.

An unmanned demo needs signage to let people know what they are sampling and what they can do with it.

Again, recipe cards with information about the product should be made available and kept in stock. Be sure to coordinate your demonstrations with advertised price breaks; this makes the savings obvious to the customer.

However you display your tropicals be flexible and open to change. Explore new ways of presenting these fruits to your customers. Study displays in trade magazines and other grocery stores to see what mayor may not be effective in your produce department. Always be open to new ideas.

It's up to you to leave your customers with a positive first impression. An attractive display will draw them to your tropical fruit; information and serving ideas will pique their curiosity; and a delicious sample will sell them on it and keep them coming back for more.

With your hard work and innovation, tropical fruits can be not only exciting but profitable as well.

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