How to Make Money Selling Produce

[music] Joe Rossi>>Hello. I’m Joe Rossi. I want to spend the next few minutes with you on
how to make money selling produce. The first point is how to display your product when
you only have a small space, so let’s go inside and get started. If I was working with
this much space, I would pick items based on how much are you going to sell, and I would
pick items that are low perishability, items that will hold good for a long period of time
on your display. Potatoes is a high volume item and it actually holds up really well.
Onions compliment it, and once again, low perishability item. Garlic, a complimentary
item, carrots, a lot of use in carrots, and then your fresh fruits, your apples, your
oranges, and your bananas. All these things are year round items. To add some fun to your
display, if you have room, and either that your customers might like, or add some seasonal
items, the green beans are actually a seasonal item. Those are really good during the summer
and strawberries. Adding strawberries and these items will actually create a lot of
life for your display and promote overall volume and help you make money. In determining
how much to buy, always try to buy in full units. When you buy in a full unit you can
ensure the best price point to make the most money. And if you’re worried about storage
space, I’ll show you some clever storage ideas later. On where to buy your fresh fruits
and vegetables. I’d start with your existing vendors, somebody might be delivering fresh
fruits and vegetables already that you’re working with. I would also try your club type
of stores, you might have a local Costco or United Grocery Cash and Carry that will offer
advantageous price points at near wholesale prices. But a really fun one is to visit your
local farmers’ market, there’s a lot of farmers who would love to sell to a store
and have some weekday sales, so if you make relationship with somebody, that could be
a real good source of supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to your customers. As an example
on what we would actually price something out at, if apples are 25 cents each, then
we times three, that’s 75. If the apples are a bigger size you could even round the
item up to a dollar, or drop it two for a dollar. Averaging out prices and arriving
at a single denomination like a dollar makes it really easy for the people to grab a few
items, especially if you do that with your whole display. I always use this method, it’s
wholesale times three, it’s really common in the retail food industry and it sounds
like maybe you’re charging too much, but you’ve got to take into account justifying
the space that the stuff takes up in your store, everything has to make money. Two,
you are going to have some shrinkage in amount of product that you can’t sell, and, three,
the whole goal is to make a small profit so that you can continue to serve your community
and your customers with fresh fruits and vegetables. When I was first starting retail, I, of course,
I had a tendency to want to put things on sale, because I needed to sell them faster
or had a lot of product and I wanted to move it. So I put things on sale for half price.
But what I quickly learned was when you do the match, when you sell something for half
price, you have to sell twice as much of it, and at the end of the day I actually made
less money and the side effect also was the customers got used to a cheaper price. So
I’ve quickly learned that to be successful and to actually make money selling produce,
you should maintain an average price point and don’t put things on sale. Customers
like to feel like they have a full display to pick from and they have first pick. So
you’ll always want to group your items up heaping full and you want to project abundance.
No some clever ways to do that so you don’t have to actually display a lot of stuff is
your baskets are low, so there’s a lot of ratio between product that the customers see,
and what’s in the basket, and you can even pad up the bottom of the basket, not only
does this reserve your product from getting bruised, but it also projects abundance. You
can take the same amount of product and have it heaping full, or you can have your display
level, but always keep things heaping full. One other aspect of a really good display
that will help sales is adding a vertical dimension. Even on a display like this, even
though it’s on a table, you will notice that I stepped it up from low, medium to high
heights. That actually makes it more impactful because from a distance it’s more viewable,
and once again, the feeling and look of abundance in the baskets, not just crown baskets, but
as stepping up in the back. One other clever idea, if you have a corner, you’ve got a
nice vertical floor display that steps it up, takes less space and actually adds more
dimension and elements in your produce display. And I always try to visualize my product as
on a flow from your storage area, to your retail space, to your customer basket, and
out the store. So if you keep it flowing it makes you more money. And there’s some pitfalls
to stay away from. The first one is don’t display bad product. You really want to take
product off your display that isn’t a good representation of what you’re selling, because
you’ll restrict product flow. I call it clogging the pipe and you don’t want to
clog the pipe, because if you clog the pipe everything here is going to age. You want
to keep it flowing, keeping it flowing keeps it fresh. My dad growing up through the depression,
and me as a young man growing up on the farm, and doing retail, I noticed my dad would like
to put things on top of the display, he would want to sell fast. But if you put something
on top of the display that doesn’t look that good it’s going to be a reflection
on your whole display. I notice at the end of those days we actually sold quite a bit
less of a certain item, and you certainly will sell less overall, because it, once again
will be a reflection of everything on the display. My daughter, Gabrielle, now that
we have retail staff, she’ll tell people on our staff, “If you wouldn’t give it
as a gift and be happy with it you should really have it in your display.” At the
end you will actually make more money taking some product out of your displays. One idea
that I’ve learned that’s really effective is bagging certain items. Bagging items does
a few things, one is it increases your rotation. You can take a few items off the top that
maybe will go bad in a few days but are really good now. You put them in a bag and you can
maintain your price point and have a slight discount for the bag. Bags are preferential
to a lot of customers. In fact, I noticed that bags will out sell bulk sales three to
one. And there’s a few reasons for that, one is the product looks and is perceived
as being untouched to the consumer, it’s more convenient, people can grab it and go.
The combination though of bulk and bag actually increases overall sales because more people
are actually apt to buy a bag if there’s a nice bulk display in front of it. So the
combination works really good together. Other ideas to keep your display looking nice and
increase product flow are samples. Samples greatly enhance sales, sales will double or
triple with sampling. Also, you might want to share some of this with your employees,
not only will your employees like you, but they’re going to benefit by increased product
knowledge and willingness to engage your customers on ideas and things to do with the vegetables.
Last, we’ve already precalculated our shrinkage, which is the items you’re not going to sale
in a pricing formula, so now that you’re buying wholesale fruits and vegetables, you
can actually bring some home to your family, because it’s all about keeping it look nice
and keeping the product flowing to make the most money. One area to help you is sales
that often gets overlooked is really clear and concise signage. You really want to have
your items displayed clearly marked with prices. There’s a large percentage of customers
that will be afraid to ask for prices and actually will be less tempted to buy your
item. You can also have some fun with your signs by adding some extra information about
the product tastes like, or maybe the local farmer that produces it. Some general themes
are you want to actually keep your signs consistent, maybe your paper color is consistent, your
pens are consistent, and you might want to think about storing them like I do in a container.
I found that if I keep all my sign making material in one place and clean then I have
extra signs ready to go, it really helps me get the signs up nice and keep them looking
good. Also think about having some fun with your seasonal items, you might want to actually
show your customers that the strawberries are local. If you want to have some fun with
signs you might also add some added verbiage, maybe mention the grower, the farmer, or how
the product tastes. And then last, you might want to include some overall signage, something
that kind of captures your space, and lets people know what’s new and what’s exciting.
Now let’s think about protecting our investment through proper storage and maintaining freshness.
There are certain things that you want to bring in after business hours into refrigeration,
and those items typically are your items that wilt easily, mostly your leafy greens. Here
for example, I would bring in the jalapeno peppers, the local green beans, carrots, some
of your fresh fruit, local fruit items, and to maintain crispness on apples, I actually
do like to store the apples overnight in refrigeration. Also the things you leave out, if you cover
them with a cloth it’ll do two things, it’ll prevent some dehydration overnight and it
will also keep the light off the potatoes which are light sensitive and will turn green
if left exposed. All fruits and vegetables suffer age through
dehydration. So even items we bring in refrigeration at night should be hydrated really well and
kept moist. We can accomplish that through damp cloths over the top, restricting some
air movement, and also using sealable containers. Sealable containers are nice, because they
maintain their moisture and you’ll also want some separation between your items that
produce ethylene gas. Most of those are your fruit items that will actually turn your leafy
greens and like items yellow over time. Even things like the green beans, I would keep
in a sealable containers and separate. Now that you have something finally exciting,
think about sharing it with your community. Have an A frame sign outside of your store
that advertises fresh fruits and vegetables, but be specific, because if you have something
that says fresh local strawberries, that’s more apt to get customers in your store. And
also engage your customers, ask them for items they want to see and actually listen for items
when they mention they are looking for something. Also build anticipation, if you have some
signage that says, “Fresh local corn is coming soon next week,” you actually give
them a reason to want to come back and think about returning as a returned customer.

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