A retailer's fresh produce department is a strong customer magnet, but that doesn't mean sales are automatic. A skillful fresh produce display can persuade customers to buy more than intended. If the display is poor, they may just say, "forget it". Applying some basic produce department tips for display should boost sales.

Think About Your Community

Walk into any grocery store, chain or indie, and you'll see items from the same produce list in the fresh produce department. All over the country, people visit the department and come away with bananas, carrots, onions and so on. That doesn't mean every store should design its fresh produce display along the same lines.

  • If the target customers are budget-restricted and looking for discounts, the fresh produce display usually holds fewer items, lower prices and lots of bulk buys.

  • If the store has access to local produce, highlighting it and encouraging shoppers to buy local is often a smart move.

  • Younger shoppers are more likely to be buying to feed just one person, not a family. They like to see lots of individual fruits and vegetables from which to choose rather than buying a big bag or plastic container at bulk prices.

  • If the store is in an ethnic neighborhood, a display showcasing fruits or vegetables that are popular in the community can boost sales.

  • If you have customers whose time is precious, selling packages of precut fruits and veggies alongside whole ones can add to your sales.

Appeal to the Senses

Whether apples, corn, peaches or scallions, all produce is a sensory experience. Your fresh produce department should make the most of the appeal.

  • Choose and arrange the lighting of each fresh produce display so the color of the fruit stands out to the eye.

  • Stack produce so the best-looking items are at eye level.

  • Offer free samples of produce so customers can taste how good it is.

  • Make sure the fruit and vegetables at the top or front of the display look their best. Your produce team should replace any fruit that's obviously bruised, old or squishy.

Positioning the Fresh Produce Display

One of the standard produce department tips is that you think not only about the display within the department but where you place it in the store. As your fresh produce department is a major draw for customers, you want them to see it when they come in.

An obvious way to do that is to place it near the front of the store. Another approach is to set it at the back but positioned where you don't have a lot of high shelving closing off the view. Either way, it's important to keep the produce on the outer perimeter of the floor space, which is where customers begin their shopping.

If customers don't find enough interesting displays on the perimeter, they may give up on the store. You should also keep enough aisle space in the department so customers can maneuver around each other while shopping.

Inform Your Customers

Customers in the fresh produce department may have questions. How much are the mushrooms? How many calories are in a serving of peaches? Is that apple display full of Fuji apples or some new variety?

The labeling and signage in the department should answer all their questions. It should be obvious which sign applies to which examples of produce, and the signage should be easy to read. Signs in the misted part of the supermarket should be waterproof so it doesn't become gross from the water sprayed on it.

Place enough scales around the department so that weighing items and then going back to adjust amounts is convenient.