The ShopRite store, in West Deptford, N.J., has a
special section for Italian food that is around the corner from its deli counter. At the Acme supermarket, in
nearby Logan Township, N.J., a sign in the center store
says that shoppers wearing the apparel of Major League
Soccer’s Philadelphia Union inside the store are entitled
to a five percent discount on purchases. The Union’s
home field is less than 10 miles from the store.
The Giant food store, in Aston, Pa., has a breakfast
display in the back of its store for the convenience of its
customers. Pork roll, scrapple and bacon are available in
a freezer case, which has pancake mix and syrup, both
center store items, across the top.
At the Weis supermarket, in East Norriton, Pa., a picnic display greets customers just inside one of the store
entrances. It groups center store items such as mustard
and ketchup with cole slaw, burgers, rolls and ribs.
Stanton notes that only now are manufacturers starting to realize that marketing foods in combinations,
instead of selling strictly their own products, is good
for business. “We’re seeing more and more companies
trying to focus on the way people eat these foods and
then get retailers to put them in that combination—like
s’mores,” he says. “It has taken years for companies to
get that mentality through their heads—to sell the way
Important first impressions are made at store
entrances, long before shoppers make their way toward
the center store. Those impressions might dictate
whether the shopper is in the mood to buy or leave the
store. When customers arrive in the center store, clear
and well-placed signage as well as the logical placement of products can enhance the shopping experience, say industry observers.
How do these five Philadelphia area stores attract
shoppers to their center store products? And how do
they try to differentiate themselves from their competitors? Here are some observations from our July visits:
ACME, LOGAN TOWNSHIP, N.J.:
Only a few miles from the Commodore Barry Bridge,
which spans the Delaware River south of Philadelphia,
this supermarket makes it clear to shoppers where items
can be found with its extensive signage. Not only are
there signs at both ends of each center store aisle, but
there also are signs every few feet above the top shelves
that line each aisle. The store tries to make itself attrac-
tive by making liberal use of balloons and oversized,
illustrated signs on its perimeter walls.
Buy one, get one free sale items cover the front page
of the store’s circular, and center store items such as
Snapple iced tea, Eight O’clock coffee, Lay’s potato
chips and Old El Paso tortilla shells and filling ingredients are offered at 40 percent off, as are Signature trash,
freezer and storage bags.
In the store, offers of 2 for $6 on Cheerios, 4 for $5 on
Coca-Cola and even 10 for $10 specials are prevalent.
Stand alone island displays offering various deals dot
the floor across the front of the store, while refrigerator
cases do the same in the back. Their presence makes
many of the store’s 15 aisles shorter from end-to-end
and less daunting to the shopper.
Shoppers have the choice of left and right store
entrances. The left one takes them through the produce
section and toward the baked goods near the back corner of the store. Those who follow the store’s rear aisle
walk past the international foods area, which signals the
start of the center store. Those coming in from the right
walk past the in-store flower shop and toward their destination. Two aisles lined with frozen food cases split the
The most novel food grouping is in Aisle 11, where a
“TV-movie” sign hangs suggestively over various candy
and snack items.