Product Rotation

Rotating all of the product in your department is one of the most important and critical tasks that occur regularly in any produce section. How this process occurs is very dependent on the style of “produce set” that you use. Here are strategies for three very popular and commonly used styles:

The Hand-stacked high profile set:
This set is typically used by stores with a large department and high volume sales. What’s nice about this style is that it is very dynamic in appearance and keeps very full throughout the day. The downside to this set when rotating is that you cannot just isolate one item and rotate it. Because the items are interwoven, you have to take down entire sections in order to rotate a single item. And, because the displays are quite large, rotation with this type of set becomes a massive task. The best approach to rotation when using a high profile, hand stacked set is to set up a rotation schedule. The wet rack, of course, gets rotated daily (and this should be true with any type of wet display); however, the fruit tables and dry racks will need to have more of an every other day rotation due to the volume of food that needs to be gone through. It typically is just not possible to handle every piece of food during the set up time with the volume of product that is displayed. Where this type of display is very effective is that it has a distinct top and bottom so that when you do rotate the food, the newer product is on the bottom and the older, culled product is on the top. Just the nature of the display forces the customer to buy the product that you want to move out first, as taking an item from the bottom is not an option as most customers quickly learn.

The Conventional Row Set:
This style is quite popular and favored in some fashion by most stores. The “rotation challenge” with this set is to make sure that the product gets completely rotated with newer product on the bottom and older, culled product on the top. What often happens is that the older product gets pulled forward and the newer product gets placed in the back of the row. These days most customers are aware of that strategy and will often begin shopping from the back of the row, going for the newer product first. Pulling the product forward and filling in the back may work while restocking during the day, but for your morning setup a complete rotation will be necessary.

The European Basket Set:
As with the conventional row set, the European basket set is very popular, particularly in stores that are fairly low volume in sales. Smaller, tighter displays can present a very colorful look as well as create the feel of abundance without having much product out at all. A handy strategy for rotating the basket displays is to have an extra set of baskets on hand. You first load up the empty basket with newer product and then cap off the display with the older product that was out from the day before in the basket that is currently in the display. What makes this type of display very efficient is that even when restocking during the day it is easy enough to completely rotate the product because there is not a lot out in any one display. Where it is not so effective is that because most displays only contain a small amount of food, keeping the displays looking nice and full requires constant restocking throughout the day.

No matter the size of your department or the volume of food that moves through it, if rotation does not occur regularly, not only will you have issues with shrink, but most likely you will have product on the rack that is not suitable for your customers. Typically, allotting the labor resources to enhance your margin as well as the quality standards of your department is a strategy that will be well rewarded.