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Stores: Super Bear and Foodland IGA Location: Juneau, Alaska Submitted by: Mark Graham, Director of Retail Operations, The Myers Group
We run “Motherlode Meat Sales” twice a year: in the fall and spring, at all our stores. 2019 was the first year for Foodland and Super Bear IGA, our two IGAs in Juneau, Alaska. Even though our Juneau stores are only nine miles apart, we hold the sales on different weekends, because of the extra work that goes into staffing them.
During the two-day sales, we feature deals on primal cuts of beef and pork, including whole cuts of NY strip, top sirloin and beef and pork tenderloin, as well bulk selections of seafood and poultry, like 10-pound bags of boneless chicken breasts and thighs. On the day of the event we do pre-cut and pre-packaged family packs, or we sell the whole primal at a reduced price that passes the savings we get from buying in bulk on to the customer. When we sell a primal, we custom cut it for the shopper right on the sales floor, which emphasizes the freshness of the meat and the skill of our butchers, engages shoppers, and makes us stand out from other stores that only carry pre-packaged meats. These events are hugely successful, with meat department sales up 362 percent during the two days.
By the Numbers
54% increase in sales storewide for the week of the sale
19% customer count increase
362% increase in meat department sales during the 2-day event
25 different items on sale
WHY IT WORKS
For Our Shoppers
Customers love the ability to buy in bulk and stock their freezer. They also love getting custom cuts made the way they want them.
The promotion generates excitement throughout the community. Customers were waiting at the door as we opened at 6:00 a.m.
For Our Store
The residual business is just excellent. We didn’t even see a downtick in meat sales the following weeks.
It’s fun to make a big event out of it, and involve the whole store. Produce and grocery will run their own promotions to go along with the meat sale.
By demonstrating custom cuts on the sales floor, we differentiate our store, showing shoppers that talented butchers cut our meats in-store.
Planning is key. We start out by working with our supplier on pricing primals and determining how much we’ll need to order. For the first sales, we went with their recommendations. A few days before the event, we cut and wrap family packs of meat for the sale.These are sold a bit higher than the whole primals, and appeal to people who don’t want to commit to larger quantities. For instance, at the sale we offer family packs of New York strip steak at $6.99/lb and at $5.99/lb for custom cut of the whole primal.
Staff extra employees. Our supplier sends some people and I fly up from Seattle to help. We also pull some staff from our other Juneau store to pitch in.
Set up the demonstration table. We set up meat blocks on the sales floor and customers enjoy the show of staff cutting their meat in front of them. Customers really love the custom cut aspect. They get their steaks or roasts cut exactly they way they want, they usually learn a little something about the meat they're buying in the process, and we learn more about what our shoppers want. It's really a lot of fun.
Promote in advance on multiple channels. To promote this event, the stores put up banners, signs, and include bag stuffers three weeks ahead of the promotion. Store associates create excitement for the event a few weeks prior as well. Paid promotion includes radio, newspaper, and social media ads.
For some people the appeal is buying in bulk, so we merchandize the tools they might need to wrap and freeze it at home, such as freezer wrap and tape, plastic bags, etc.
Make sure you are ready, done, and set the morning of the sale. With the amount of business that you’ll do that day, you’ll fall behind if you are not 100 percent prepared.
Be aggressive. Since you only do it twice a year, jump in with both feet. Make a real big deal out of it.
Have fun with it! The big advantage to having staff cut the meat on the floor is the customer interaction, and their ability to talk up the product, help select and choose cuts, etc. The customers love it.