Preparing for Grocery Retail

As you make your plans for increasing your sales in grocery retail distribution, having working knowledge to successfully navigate the evolving grocery marketplace will set your brand apart from the rest and provide greater opportunities to connect with consumers.

Choosing the best methods of optimizing the channels in which your products reach your customers can be a daunting process. But, with better understanding of industry terms, effective trading partner relationships, and merchandising and promotions strategy, your brand can gain more shelf space with greater efficiency.

Here are key areas we will cover in Lesson 1:

  • Becoming well-versed in grocery retail vocabulary
  • How to navigate building healthy trading partner relationships
  • In-store promotions and merchandising
  • Common (and beneficial) certificates for diverse suppliers

Talk the Talk – Grocery Retail Terms You Should Know

Successful brands know that there are common and not-so-common terms, specific to the grocery retail industry. Speaking a common language is essential to developing effective relationships and processes with distributors, wholesalers and retailers. As your brand begins to expand its shelf presence, having fluency in grocery trading lingo can accelerate your business relationships by leaps and bounds.

When you start out selling your product in a couple of local stores, the initial words you become familiar with and need to know include wholesale price, sell sheet, and MSRP. But, as you grow, the lingo doubles ¬ if not triples. For example: TI x HI, TPR, Off-Invoice, Scan-down, case-pack, inner-pack, UPC, LTL, bridge buying, shipper, FOB and the list continues. Before you approach more retailers, learn and become well-versed in grocery retail vocabulary.

Grocery Retail Vocabulary for Emerging Brands

Download the Grocery Retail Vocabulary for Emerging Brands to learn  common grocery retail terms that you and your team will need to better acquaint yourself with to move forward. Being well-versed in these will help your company successfully maneuver as you seek increased grocery retail distribution.

Build Healthy Relationships with Your Retailers

In the world of food retail, shelf space is valuable real estate. A retailer that has the right mix of products on their shelves benefits from increased curb appeal and shopper satisfaction. Retailers are eager to build relationships with brands that can consistently offer products consumers are looking for on their shelves. As partners, retailers and suppliers can provide the greatest value to consumers.  Healthy trading partnerships allow both parties opportunities to collaboratively leverage their expertise, leading to increased sales and maximized profits.

As you begin to nurture your partnerships with retailers, here are three key benefits you can expect over time:

  1. Accelerated Supply Chain Flow

Strategic alliances between suppliers and retailers accelerate flow times associated with complicated supply chain systems. Strategizing together on delivery channels, sharing access to each side’s technology and consumer data makes way for faster-to-market products. Automated practices bring about greater response to consumer demand.

  1. Greater Efficiencies

Developing a cooperative system tightens the belt on process inefficiencies by eliminating surplus inventory and duplicate actions. Also, when you and your retailers invest time in determining systems that work for both of you, your retailer will gain confidence in the consistency of your product’s availability. As you strengthen the trust, you wiill surely entice them to reward you with greater shelf space and visibility options for your brand.

  1. Increased Sales Volume

Positive collaboration with your retailer partners will yield all-around benefits as you cut unnecessary costs and retailers can trust your trading processes. As a result, you can expect to see a measurable increase in your sales. A trusting relationship between suppliers and retailers is a win for both.

Here are some steps you can take to build trust with your retailers:

Master Your In-store Merchandising Strategy

Working with your retailers to fine-tune your in-store merchandising game plan can help generate consumer excitement and drive traffic to your product category. Proper strategy accompanied with accurate consumer data, can open the door for you and your retailer to drive consumer traffic to your category and brand.

Your in-store strategies may vary retailer to retailer based on their customer base, the store traffic differences and the store design. The most important aspect is that you plan your in-store merchandising so they are impactful, effective, seasonal and brand well.


Think about these 5 tips when planning your in-store merchandising strategy:

5 Tips In Store Merchandising

Designing Your Display and Merchandising Approach

Great in-store displays attract attention. Displays should be visually pleasing, engaging, and provide easy access to multiple products without disrupting the shopping experience. Understanding your consumers’ behavior is important. Do your research on what excites your customer. Visit a store at different times of the day and talk to your retailer to gain insights on what works.

When planning your display, be cognizant of store volume. It should survive minimum maintenance and refilling. Arrange your display based on packaging colors, creating vertical or horizontal blocks. Consider pairing complimentary products (co-merchandising) and including a promotional price on the set can make a huge difference in achieving sales while capitalizing on the customers’ perceived value.

Use In-Store Promotions to Increase Sales

In the competitive world of retail shelf-space, in-store retail marketing, also known as trade promotion can help differentiate your brand’s products from the competition. Trade promotion increases your brand’s visibility, awareness, and introduces new customers to your product through trial and impulse purchases.

Retail grocers offer in-store promotions to boost customer loyalty and increase sales. Suppliers can benefit from partnering with retailers to offer promotion campaigns which increase customer satisfaction. A combination of the right price, strong in-store merchandising and effective advertising can give your brand a competitive edge in its category and increase market penetration. Coupons, temporary price reductions, rebates, and contests are all effective channels of building brand and product awareness.

Stellar promotions require consideration of each of the following areas:

  • Authentic and timely consumer data
  • Proper analytics of past promotions
  • Omni-channel opportunities – online and print
  • Internal and external collaboration with trade partners
  • Awareness of (KPI) key performance indicators.

How to Carry Out In-Store Advertisements

There are two methods of delivering in-store advertisements:

  1. Print and digital advertising integration

    Is the practice of combining traditional printed style advertisements, along with digital channels to create a firm promotion advertising campaign.

  2. Point-of-sale (POS)

    Advertising aims to steer sales at the time and place where purchases are made. POS advertising is generally to influence impulse or unplanned purchases by new and loyal consumers.

Close the Unplanned Sale: The Power of Point-of-Sale Advertising

Of the two methods of carrying out in-store sales, POS advertising is proven to be the most influential. Many studies show that the majority of consumer purchases are impulse purchases, or unplanned.

POS advertising is a specialized form of sales promotion that is found near, on, or next to a checkout counter or register, and designed to encourage impulse purchases. Buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) sales and “10 for $10” sales on merchandise are especially popular calls for action to impulse purchases.

Evaluate your core shoppers’ purchasing behaviors, including their everyday and seasonal purchasing trends. Knowing your customer behaviors well will help you determine how merchandising, in-store promotions and advertising will support your product velocity and sales.

Reach Multiple Purchasing Generations

Print advertisements hold a different value for boomers than it does the digital-oriented generation. However, both groups are valuable purchasing groups in grocery retail, so developing an integrated approach to your out-of-store advertising connects your promotions to consumers in a way that they can relate to your brand.

Go Online to Bring Customers In-Store

Using your e-commerce site to drive in-store traffic may seem challenging or even counter-intuitive, but it can be quite effective at driving more sales. The key is defining what customers want out of the in-store experience, and then translating and/or delivering this experience online.

Get In The Know: Supplier Diversity Certificates that Could Increase Your Brand’s Visibility

If you are:

  • Minority-Owned
  • Veteran-Owned
  • Woman-Owned
  • Disability-Owned
  • LGBT Owned
  • Disadvantaged Area/ Zone Operated

there could be benefits for you to hold a diversity certificate.  Don’t miss out. Supplier Diversity is a business process that works to level the playing field for suppliers. Retailers offer Diverse Supplier programs to promote trade participation of suppliers that is reflective of the diverse US population. Some programs include deep discounts on promotions or even no fees because of the certificate.

Suppliers of minority population segments, including those who are women and who represent non-majority ethnic groups and sexual orientation receive a fairer opportunity for inclusion when these initiatives are offered. Diverse suppliers also contribute product diversity, which attracts minority consumers whose purchase power drives over $3 Trillion into the U.S. retail industry, annually.

Retailers identify Diverse Suppliers through certified vendor databases. Certification is a necessary step for non-majority owned businesses hoping to attract the attention of large companies’ supplier diversity programs.

Find out if you qualify as a Diverse Supplier, and how to get certified. See more details in our Supplier Diversity Certificates presentation here.


Becoming well-versed in retail grocery vocabulary and promotions will come over time if you focus on gaining experiences and learning the new terms and lingo. As you invest in and navigate building healthy trading partner relationships and planning  in-store promotions and merchandising well, you will see results. Its hard to be patient to see your sales results but if you stay focused and true to your brand, the sales will come in time.

Take the Lesson 1 Preparing for Grocery Retail Quiz

Track your progress as you dive into the many more topics covering in the FMI Emerge community.

Lesson 1 Free Downloads!

Preparing for Grocery Retail

  1. Grocery Retail Vocabulary for Emerging Brands
  2. The Journey to Increasing Sales: Steps to Building Manufacturer – Retailer Trust
  3. 5 Tips for In-Store Merchandising
  4. 6 Actions to Driving Customers In-Store
  5. Understanding Supplier Diversity Certificates