Susanville Supermarket IGA, Susanville, CA Department: Seafood Difficulty: Medium
Department size – 12 feet long with 4 tiers 28,000 sq foot
Three times a year, both our employees and our customers excitedly await the arrival of the Pacific Seafood tractor-trailer for our big Seafood Sale. Although it looks like your typical truck on the outside, on the inside, it is a pristine fish market filled to the brim with a beautiful variety of freshly caught seafood. The offerings change with the seasons, but the truck is typically full of customer favorites, including live lobster, fresh oysters, Dungeness crabs, Alaskan halibut filets, and Alaskan cod filets. By timing the seafood sales with our weekend barbecues, we turn the whole parking lot into a big party. Wally, who has been driving the truck for the 20 years we have been hosting the events, typically throws some fish on the barbecue for sampling while also providing plenty of cooking tips and educating customers about the different types of seafood. In addition to the festivities in the parking lot, we also expand the offerings in the seafood department for the sale. On average, the event leads to a 30-40 percent increase in seafood sales, as well as increased sales throughout the store.
3 seafood sales a year 30-40% increase in seafood sales
WHY IT WORKS
For our Shoppers: Unbeatable Quality The fish comes straight from the coast. You can’t get any fresher in town!
Great Value Seafood is available at sale prices.
Educational Whether they bring home a type of seafood they have never tried before or discover a new cooking technique from Wally, there is always something new to learn.
For our Store Brings in Business As people drive through the region, the truck is perfectly positioned to catch their attention. They see the truck, they see the people in the parking lot, and they just have to stop in and see what is going on.
Boost Sales Throughout the Store People come in for the fish, but they leave with bags full of groceries. Once they have their halibut, they need butter and lemon, they might need broccoli for a side dish, a nice loaf of French bread, and a bottle of wine to pair with it.
Builds Relationships Our customers get really excited about the Seafood Sale. We always have calls coming in asking when the next one is going to be held.
Pricing: While the price of the seafood varies with the market, it is always offered at a sale price.
We start our promotions well before the truck arrives. We always have an artist come by and create artwork featuring fish, which we use for both a full page ad in the local paper and a flyer that we hand out at the checkout about a week before. We also feature the Seafood Sale in our ads and take out radio spots.
When the truck arrives, we make sure that it is strategically positioned for greatest visibility in a section of the parking lot on Main Street. The truck has plenty of signage on the side, so it always attracts lots of attention.
Inside the store, we double the size of the seafood section and offer many of the same sales as you find in the truck.
During the event, we are active on social media, posting photos and videos to entice more customers to come join in on the fun.
Let the market guide you when choosing which seafood to offer. Customers are much more educated now than they were in years past. They will get online and figure out what is in season and what fisherman are catching now. Make sure that you include plenty of these items.
Keep track of which items are consistently popular. While preferences do change, there are some items, such as lobster, Dungeness crab, and fresh oysters, that I can always be certain are going to be popular.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your distributors about offering unique promotions. Without a trusted partner, we wouldn’t be able to make this Seafood Sale such a long-term success.
Be strategic about when you offer events. We like to have our first Seafood Sale of the year around Memorial Day because there are a lot of people camping in the local recreational areas around that time. Likewise, our sister store hosts a similar event around Lent each year.
Have a best practice of your own? We want to hear it!