Cross-Merchandise Breakfast Items To Drive Sales

Jan. 27, 2015

Breakfast is in fierce competition for the consumer dollar. Mintel reported that it expects breakfast to grow to $35 billion by 2018 and Julian Mellentin, author of the new report The snackification of breakfast: How changing consumer habits are creating new opportunities said, “Breakfast has become one of the most fought-over battlegrounds in food and health, a battle fueled by consumers’ need for easy and quick meals in the morning.” Despite this competition, the outlook for vending and micro market breakfast sales isn’t so bleak. In fact, operators can use breakfast items to help consumers develop a habit of coming to the machine or micro market throughout the day. In order to increase sales and extend the breakfast segment throughout the day, vending and micro market operators should consider cross-merchandising breakfast items.

Begin with a clear promotion

Breakfast items are vast. They range from fresh food to hot coffee, yogurt to breakfast biscuits.  Successful cross-merchandising requires a clear promotion; a promotion that inspires consumers to purchase items that they were not planning to purchase. For example, 82 percent of consumers in 2014 drank coffee with their breakfast. Since the best promotions involve at least three products, operators could pair coffee—an item that consumers are likely to drink—with a yogurt and a breakfast biscuit—items consumers may not have been likely to purchase.

In order to do this, the operator should create a clear promotion that begins with a theme and sets an idea in the consumer’s mind. This can be done through multiple types of signage. The signage, digital or hard paper, should include an eye-catching graphic and/or logo that encompasses the theme, such as, “Start your day off right with a great breakfast,” or “Breakfast matters.”

Place items in close proximity

For actual product placement, think about each location separately. Operators and/or route drivers can utilize existing equipment, but each location will be unique. For micro markets, consider different types of mobile displays for the product promotions. Cross-merchandise breakfast items by placing a countertop cooler of yogurts and hard-boiled eggs near the coffee machine and a breakfast biscuit or granola bar display in close proximity.

In vending, the opportunity to cross-merchandise still exists; however, signage will play a key role in merchandising breakfast items. Pairing photos of available products together with the breakfast slogan could draw consumers to the machine. If a location’s vending machine enables digital signage, this could be an easy and inexpensive way to promote breakfast pairings. Operators can even contact manufacturers to help with the creation of pairings and bundles. Manufacturers will oftentimes aid operators with signage such as vending clings and counter cards.

While some products will be in the refrigerated machine, operators could place a freestanding shelf of a new breakfast add-on near the vender, as part of a “new product time trial.” Place a hard paper sign with correlating colors near the display to draw a connection between breakfast pairings inside the machine with the new item on the freestanding shelf. After a certain time period, the operator can then move the “new” product into the machine and carry the breakfast theme with it. Similar to a grocery end-cap, this allows for the best promotional display and item pairing.

Engage and plan

Promotional merchandising planning is imperative. Operators can begin by looking at the different categories of products they offer and brainstorm how there could be opportunities for cross merchandising. This process should be reviewed once a month.

Route drivers will additionally play a key role in promoting breakfast. Route drivers know unique location set-ups and equipment as well as the type of consumer at each location. The vending operator should first review each location’s data to determine the number of overall “breakfast” items offered, the percentage of breakfast items purchased and the time of day they are being purchased. Then, operators can engage route drivers in early planning conversations to determine the best breakfast pairings at each location. In order to increase breakfast item sales throughout the day, operators with promotional capabilities could offer consumers a certain percentage off of a combination juice, yogurt and breakfast biscuit purchase between noon and 3:00 p.m.

Tie the thread together

Creating a visual tie-in—a theme—is imperative to running a successful cross-merchandising breakfast campaign. A thread that ties each product together, such as a breakfast “fast fact,” could enable the consumer, who wasn’t thinking about breakfast, to purchase not just one, but multiple breakfast items throughout the day.