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Importance of understanding frequent, heavy GM front-end shoppers

Retailers that understand the high-margin value of frequent, heavy GM front-end shoppers can reap disproportionate gains, according to officials at the Global Market Development Center, based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

GMDC also has found that retailers who employ a front-end manager often have a head start in driving strategy because there is one vision to rationalize SKUs, and someone on hand to reduce friction between category managers vying for upfront space for their own best-sellers. H-E-B, noted GMDC officials, is an industry leader in this space.

The group, along with its trade partners, has extensively studied the front end and offers the following suggestions to retailers looking to boost sales:

  • Understand your current checkout productivity, what is working, how you compare with other retailers and what you want to represent at checkout.

  • Reallocate category space to align with measured demand whether that is shoppers’ need for additional travel-size products
    or convenience items for young children.

  • Create space to highlight emerging categories.

  • Optimize assortment within each category. Display top sellers prominently at every checkout point. Add choices to drive incrementality and contemporize the selection between core and niche.

  • Merchandise rotationally. This alone can increase front-end sales as much as 25%. Shoppers say that browsing unexpected and unique items makes the wait more tolerable.

  • Spike sales with an assortment of timely needed seasonal merchandise.

  • Improve presentation. Highlight shelves and choose creative display designs to enhance visibility and access. Use LED lights to improve the look and feel — it raises the shopper experience.

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