Author Archives: jennifer doan

The Grass is Always Greener

Asparagus is a Eurasian member of the lily family and a long-lived perennial. There is evidence that it one of the first known culinary plants thanks to ancient Minoan and Egyptian depictions of cultivation.  In produce, it is referred to simply as “grass.” Cultivating asparagus is a significant time investment for growers, as new plants generally require 3-4 years to establish root systems before producing harvestable shoots. Once mature, the plants will send up succulent stalks each spring for a couple decades.

Asparagus was first planted in California in the 1850s in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region. Due to tough competition from imports, California acreage has been on the steady decline. In 2015 there were 11,500 acres of asparagus, down from 40,000 in 2000.

The first California asparagus harvested out of Imperial Valley is now on the market. The season should run for four months or longer, transitioning to the San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast and Sacramento-Delta region.

As the season progresses, so does the flavor profile of asparagus. It will go from green and grassy to peak-season sweet and succulent. Let’s keep promoting the seasonal excitement of these tender spears. Support your local grass grower!

Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.

Fruit

Apple and Pear

Cold weather in Washington last week led to significant road closures and truck delays. Apple supply and availability may be impacted for some varieties. Pink Lady and Gala are in good supply with promotable pricing.

Bosc, D’Anjou, and Red D’Anjou from Washington are readily available. We should see strong volume on these into March. The local season for pears are done, but Bartletts from Argentina are starting! These pears are fresh and have never been in storage.

Avocado

Zutano and Fuerte greenskin avocadoes are done for the season. California Hass supply is tight. #2-grade fruit is a bit erratic.

Berries

Import strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry supply from Mexico is steady. California-grown blueberry is limited. However, import fruit continues to be available so there should be no gaps in supply.

Citrus

Blood orange, Cara Cara Navel, and Valencia are readily available. Ruby and Rio Red grapefruit from B&J Ranch are going strong. Eureka lemon prices have come down. Meyer lemons are in good supply. Nagami kumquats are back in availability.

Orlando Tangelos are done but we have plenty of delicious citrus to keep your shelves full. Honey tangerines, Royal mandarins, and Tango tangerines are here in steady supply. Murcott tangerines, a cross between a tangerine and a sweet orange, are abundant and tasting great. They are easy to peel, so perfect for snacking. TDE tangerines remain limited but in good supply. Pixie tangerines from Ojai’s Shore Packing are coming on in about three weeks. Our staff wait all season for these!

Kiwi

California-grown green kiwifruit should be steady through May.

Mango

Ataulfo mango continue to have strong volume. Mexico-grown Kent mango are expected to come on in March.

Melon

Honeydew and mini seedless watermelon are expected to gap until March.

Pomegranate

Domestic arils are done for the season. Peruvian-grown arils are arriving in a couple weeks.

Vegetables

Artichoke

Artichoke supply is steady; prices remain high. California-grown ‘chokes often get “frost-kissed” during the winter, causing some outer layers to turn brown. Although the brownish color is less pretty, “frost-kissed” artichokes have a nuttier and more intense flavor than the ones not affected by frost. Enjoy this seasonal treat while they last!

Asparagus

California-grown asparagus is limited; prices are high. More growers are expected to come on in March, which should improve supply. Mexico-grown asparagus is in good supply with sharp pricing.

Broccoli/Cauliflower

Broccoli supply appears to be steady. Crowns are more limited and will have a short gap in availability. White cauliflower supply is limited and prices are expected to rise. Orange and purple cauliflower supply is gapping.

Celery

Celery supply is very limited; prices are ticking up.

Cucumber

English Hothouse cucumber supply is steady. Slicer cucumber prices are a bit erratic and are increasing.

Ginger

Peruvian yellow ginger is limited but we do not expect to have any gaps in supply. Turmeric, galangal, and Hawaiian yellow ginger are all steady.

Greens, Herbs & Lettuce

Green kale prices remain high. Prices have come down on chards, collards, and dino a.k.a. lacinato kale. Red butter lettuce supply remains spotty and limited. Red leaf and romaine are steady. Little Gem have limited availability; prices are high. Look for a new herb mix from Jacob’s Farm: Hearty Herb. This pack contains Thyme, Bay Leaf, and Parsley.

Mushrooms

Button, shiitake, and oyster remain steady. Talk to your Account Manager about preordering one of the delicious specialty mushrooms available right now. We’re seeing Black Trumpet, Winter Black Truffle, Morel, Porcini, and Yellowfoot, just to name a few! Availability changes often, so let us know if you’re looking for a specific variety. 

Pepper

Green bell peppers are readily available. Orange and yellow bells are limited. Red bells are steady; prices are down. Poblanos are back in steady supply, as are sweet peppers.

Potato

New-crop golden potatoes from Road Twenty Farm are plentiful in all sizes. Talk to your Account Manager about pallet deals. New-crop red potato supply is improving but continues to be limited.

Squash

Zucchini prices are climbing back up. Yellow squash is steady. California-grown butternut continues to be in good supply. Kabocha and Spaghetti are limited from Mexico; prices are high. Overall, squash supply should improve at the beginning of March when more growers start up their Mexican squash programs.

Tomato

Prices are coming down on one-layer slicer tomatoes. Tomatoes-on-vine (TOV) and Roma are steady. Cherry tomatoes have good volume and sharp prices. Heirlooms are expected to come back into supply towards the end of February. 

Floral

Tulips and seasonal mix bouquets are available from Thomas Farm. Normal ordering deadlines have resumed now that Valentine’s Day has come and gone! After a brief break to allow the Proteas to grow, Wild Ridge Organics is resuming normal ordering and deliveries. Full Belly Farm has come on with beautiful spring flowers, including Anemones and Tulips. Availability is limited and changes often so check with your Account Manager for the latest blooms!

Grocery

Eggs are limited, as expected during this time of year. Like most life cycles, the chicken’s egg-laying process is affected by nature’s fluctuations. During the winter, daylight decreases, which signals to the hen that the temperature is going to drop. The hen’s maternal instinct kicks in that the external conditions are not warm enough for the eggs to survive. Miraculously, the hen naturally produces fewer eggs. We’re bringing in everything we can, but during winter, nature takes its course and the chickens get a much-deserved winter “break!” It will likely be another month or two before supply starts to pick up again.

For the whole month of February, Alexandre Family Farm is offering 20% off their organic A2/A2 single-serve milks. Flavors include original, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and ginger turmeric. These milks are ultra-creamy (they contain 6% milk fat!) and deliciously addictive. For retail customers, these are the ultimate grab-and-go treat!

We are now carrying Three Trees Organic Pistachio Nutmilk and Organic Black Sesame Nut & Seedmilk—two new varieties from this beloved dairy-alternative producer. Original and Vanilla Almondmilk will still be available. All products will be available in the brand’s sleek new packaging which features a 28-fluid-ounce uniquely shaped bottle. Three Threes is offering a 15% off promotion for all products during the launch.

Merchandising Corner

Social Media Tips

A lot has changed in the grocery industry in the last ten years, including how we interact with customers and share information. Social media has had a huge impact on how consumers receive information, look for information, and even the way they shop. This makes it a very useful outlet for reaching your customer base. So how are you effectively using social media to interact with your customer base? If you don’t already have a presence on any social media platforms, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

  • Don’t do too many. Choose one or two social media outlets and do them well. Unless you have a lot of resources to dedicate to social media, it’s best to focus on no more than two so that they can stay well-maintained.
  • Set goals. What information are you trying to share with your customers? Perhaps the goal is to find new customers and inform current customers of interesting information. Set these intentions before you start posting.
  • Plan your content for the week. This will help keep you on track and consistent with your updates. 
  • Post regularly and often. Once you’ve planned out your content, plan out your posting schedule. Regular posts will your followers engaged and informed.
  • Photos, photos, photos. Remind them of why they shop at your store by taking photos of the exceptional quality you provide. Customers want the full experience of freshness and knowledge about where the product is coming from. All this information will make for a great caption on a vibrant produce photo.
  • Free advertising. This is also a great way to promote hot deals that you have going on. Encourage you customers to come in and not miss out.
  • Differentiate yourself. What makes you stand out? Find something that makes you special and different from all the other stores in your area and always point that out. Is it specialty product? Direct farm relationships? Maybe you have an exclusive relationship with a grower and your customers can only purchase the product from you.

Lucky Citrus

With the Lunar New Year coming up on February 5th, stock up on “lucky” citrus. On the lunar calendar, this if the first day of the year. It is also arguably the most important day of the year—one that involves weeks of cleaning, preparation and of course celebration.

Citrus fruit play a big role during this holiday. Oranges, tangerines, kumquats and pomelos are eaten, displayed in most households and given as gifts. Eating and displaying tangerines and oranges is said to bring good luck and fortune due to their pronunciation and even they way they are spelled. The Chinese word for ‘orange’ and ‘tangerine’ sounds the same as the Chinese word for ‘success.’ Eating pomelos is thought to bring continued prosperity—the more you eat, the more wealth it will bring! Citrus with leaves are highly coveted as the leaves symbolize longevity. Fun fact: In some regions of China, pomelos are decorated with bright ribbons or colored paper and given as New Year’s gifts to friends and family.

Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.

Fruit

Apple and Pear

Overall, apple supply is tightening. Expect price increases on Honeycrisp, Gala, and Granny Smith. Fuji and Pink Lady are continuing steadily. The Washington apple crop is expected to be large this year. Fujis are expected to last until the California season starts up. The import apple crop from Argentina will have better color this year thanks to cool weather. We’ll start to see import Gala in late April and import Granny Smith in May.

There is ample supply of D’Anjou and Bosc from Washington available. Expect these to last into March. Bartletts from South America are being harvested now; we should see availability towards the beginning of March.

Avocado

The California Hass crop has officially started, and harvest is sporadic. Growers are saying the 2019 crop is short, so some folks are going to wait for a few months to kick in. In the meantime, Mexican Hass supply is steady and prices are stable. The California greenskin crop is almost over with limited amounts of Fuerte and Zutano still available. Bacon avocado is finished for this season.

Berries

Strawberries from Mexico have limited supply. Prices have been down on Chilean fruit. Blackberry supply has tightened and is not steady.

Citrus

With rain on the forecast in the Central Valley, citrus availability and pricing can change rapidly. Navel oranges are in good supply. Cara Cara Navels are readily available. Supply is improving for Blood oranges as more growers come on. Mexican Valencias are steady. Look for domestic Valencias from Arizona and California in February. Ruby grapefruit from B&J Ranch is plentiful and ripe for promotion. Eureka and Meyer lemons are steady. Domestic limes are gapping for a few weeks; but there is plenty of Mexican fruit to keep supply going. Clementine tangerines from Shore Packing are winding down. These are a staff favorite for their sweet juicy flavor. Orlando Tangelos have limited availability. Get them while they are still available. Honey tangerines are coming on in good volume.  Royal mandarins and Tango tangerines are available now! Tangos are a seedless variety that is easy to peel and eat thanks to its delicious sweet-tart flavor.

Mango

Kent mango from Peru are ending, but we still have plenty of supply. Demand and production peaked in January with overall supply forecasted to be slightly less than previous years. Ataulfo mango from Mexico will be available at the end of the next week.

Melon

Mini seedless watermelon from Mexico has decent supply. Honeydew is very limited and will gap until mid-February. Galia and Harper are limited and expensive.

Stonefruit

Cherries are done from Argentina, but New Zealand Fortune plums have just started and are terrific!

Vegetables

Artichoke

Artichoke supply is steady but limited. California grown ‘chokes often get “frost kissed” during the winter, causing some outer layers to turn brown. Although the brownish color is less pretty, “frost kissed” artichokes have a nuttier and more intense flavor than the ones not affected by frost. Artichokes are “frost kissed” when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. Following a freeze, it takes two to three weeks before the artichoke plant can start producing “frost free” ‘chokes again. Support your winter artichoke growers by educating everyone that appearance is not everything in produce! Flavor and nutrition should always trump cosmetic quality.

Asparagus

Prices on green asparagus has been high. Hopefully prices come down as more product becomes available.

Broccoli/Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower have strong volume. Prices are sliding. Romanesco has steady supply.

Cabbage

Green cabbage is readily available and other varieties including red, Napa and Savoy are coming into better supply.

Celery

Supply is improving; prices are coming down a bit.

Cucumber

English Hothouse cucumber supply is steady. Slicer cucumbers also have good supply. Persian ‘cukes are more limited.

Greens, Herbs & Lettuce

Green and red leaf supply is improving; prices have come down. Romaine, romaine hearts and iceberg are steady. Butter lettuce supply remains spotty. Escarole and frisee are limited but Radicchio, Chioggia, Castlefranco and Treviso are steady. Green kale is limited but dino aka lacinato kale is steady. Curly parsley has good availability while Italian parsley supply is getting tighter. Dill has been affected by the colder and wet weather; availability is not reliable. Basil is still gapping. Chives are back in supply.

Leek

Leeks are plentiful and steady. This is a great item to promote right now!

Mushrooms

Button, shiitake and oyster have steady supply. Violet Chanterelles also known as Pig’s Ear is now available. This variety is firm meaty and comprised on many folds and layers. The flavor is earthy and musky. Burgundy truffles are out for the season but black truffles are in! Talk to your Account Manager if you’re interested in specific wild mushroom varieties not shown on our list.   

Pepper

Green and yellow bell peppers are limited. Orange bells are steady.Supply for red bells is tightening. Jalapenos are very limited. All other chilies are steady. Sweet peppers are steady.

Potato

New-crop golden and red potatoes from Road Twenty Farm are becoming steadier in #2 grade, ‘C’  also known as creamer size, and baby or ‘B’ size. Larger sizes are more limited.  Frost damage caused some potatoes to crack, causing them to be graded as #2s, but they are fresh and delicious nevertheless.

Squash

Prices are coming down on zucchini. Yellow squash has good supply which is expected to continue. Butternut (all sizes), Spaghetti and Delicata are readily available. Acorn and Kabocha are more limited.

Tomato

One and two-layer slicers are very limited; prices are up. Larger sizes are more readily available. Prices are also way up on tomatoes-on-vine (TOV). Romas are available in volume. Prices have come down significantly. Heirlooms have become steadier.

Floral

Lovely tulips have arrived from Thomas Farm! Iris, Snap Dragon and other winter varieties will also be coming on. Look for more of these in the Thomas Farm seasonal bouquets. Valentine’s Day bouquets will include lots of tulips! Thomas Farm, Full Belly Farm and Wild Ridge Organics will all be on revised ordering schedules for Valentine’s Day. Plan ahead for one of the biggest floral holidays of the year! Talk to your Account Manager and check our weekly floral availability list for order deadlines.

Grocery

Eggs are limited, as expected during this time of year. Like most life cycles, the chicken-egg laying process is affected by nature’s fluctuations. During the winter, daylight decreases which signals to the hen that the temperature is going to drop. The hen’s maternal instinct kicks in that the external conditions are not warm enough for the eggs to survive. Miraculously, the hen naturally produces less eggs. We’re bringing in everything we can but during winter, nature takes its course and the chickens get a much-deserved winter “break!” It will likely be another month or two before supply starts to pick up again.

For the whole month of February, Alexandre Family Farm is offering 20% off their organic A2/A2 single serve milks. Flavors include original, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and ginger turmeric. These milks are ultra-creamy (they contain 6% milk fat!) and deliciously addictive. For retail customers, these are the ultimate grab-and-go treat!

Starting February 6th, we’ll be carrying Three Trees Organic Pistachio Nutmilk and Organic Black Sesame Nut & Seedmilk—two new varieties from this beloved dairy-alternative producer. Original and Vanilla Almondmilk will still be available. All products will be available in the brand’s sleek new packaging which features a 28 fluid ounce uniquely shaped bottle. Three Threes is offering a 15% off promotion for all products during the launch.

Merchandising Corner

Spruce Up Your Floral Department

Your produce department already carries organic produce. So why not carry organic flowers to continue your commitment to sustainability and the environment? Conventional flower farming is a huge cause of soil erosion. It also uses exorbitant amounts of pesticides and fertilizers to keep those blooms perfect.

There is more to a floral department than just fresh flowers. There are also fresh potted herbs, garden starts, seeds, house plants and dried flowers. The question is just how big do you want you to start with your program? To be successful, time and resources are needed to keep the department fresh and appealing. Even more than produce, flowers and plants are highly perishable. The success of a floral department is dependent on four areas: margin, floral prep, live plants and dry floral. 

Margin

Floral is a convenience you are providing for your customers. Unlike produce, it’s not a necessity so the margin on floral is usually lower to encourage movement of the product. Generally, a floral margin is between 24%-35%.  The margin depends entirely on how much labor you want to put into the department.

Floral Prep

Pre-made bouquets are less work because they come already arranged. At night, the bouquets should be pulled and stored in the cooler. In the morning, trim the bottoms and refresh the water buckets. Pull out any wilted or unattractive foliage.

Another option is to make your own arrangements. There are several floral markets that provide loose buckets of flowers that allow you creative freedom to make your own bouquets. This is more labor intensive and would require a higher margin to account for the extra labor. As with the pre-made, these flowers will need daily fresh water, trimming and culling and cooler storage at night. Displays that are kept fresh and appear abundant are more attractive to the eye, which encourages sales.

Live Plants

There is one very important thing to consider when thinking about carrying potted herbs and garden starts. Where will you be merchandising these items? Will you have space outside or only indoors? These types of plants have different light needs than house plants. If these garden plants will only be merchandised inside, bring in to smaller but more frequent deliveries. If you will have a space out in front of the store, feel free to order more heavily as the natural light environment will sustain them longer. Plants kept outside will also need daily watering were as plants kept inside will only need water when they start to feel slightly dry. It is important to understand your live plants’ watering requirements.

Dry Floral

Dry floral includes seeds, dry bouquets and wreaths. These are very low labor and low maintenance items. With these items, you just want to maintain adequate amounts and attractively display them.

Now that you have the basics and an idea of where to start, let’s build a floral department! Veritable Vegetable has a floral Account Manager that can help you get started and keep you provided with fresh floral deliveries. If you are interested in starting an organic flower program, contact your Account Manager to get started. If you need further help, our Merchandisers can help you out and help with some in store set up and consultation.

The Wax Factor

Many organic fruits and vegetables, such as apples, produce their own natural wax. However, some produce requires additional wax to decrease dehydration and slow down decay as it makes its way to market. Wax provides a protective coating to seal in moisture and keep produce looking fresher for longer. The most commonly waxed items are citrus and cucumbers. Lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines are the most frequently waxed citrus. Cucumbers are sometimes waxed to keep them firm and crisp, especially in the winter months. Tomatoes are also occasionally waxed in the winter months.

Waxes approved for use on organic produce must be food-grade and must contain materials approved by the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) such as carnauba (extracted from palm leaves), wood rosin, and orange shellac. They cannot contain petroleum-based ingredients, preservatives, or fungicides. It is not required for growers to disclose wax information or publish it on their produce boxes. Rest assured, we work closely with our growers to understand their pre- and post-harvest practices and obtain this relevant information as needed.

Fruit

Apple and Pear

Apple supply continues to tighten and prices are going up. Local supply on Braeburn, Fuji, and Pink Lady is still going. Cameo, Gala, Granny Smith, and Honeycrisp have availability from Washington.

Pears are winding down fast. The last of the Asian pears are in-house now. Forelle and Red Comice are done for the season. We’ll see a bit more Bartlett and Red D’Anjou. Bosc is in better supply.

Avocado

Hass supply has been erratic due to the holidays and will continue to be unpredictable leading up to the Super Bowl on February 3rd. Prices are expected to firm up. Bacon are pretty much over for the season, but we may see a few more trickle in. We’ll see steady Fuerte supply for another few weeks,and Zutano avocado grown in Southern California have started up. Now is the time to start planning your avocado needs for the biggest avocado consumption weekend of the year!

Berries

Blueberry and blackberry are in steady supply from Mexico. Local strawberry supply is less steady as cold and wet weather will likely slow or halt production.

Citrus

California’s rainy season has come and is expected to stick around. This will affect all availability on fruit from the Central Valley and Chico growing areas. Navel, Cara Cara Navel, Satsuma, and tangerines have become more limited. Supply coming from the desert growing regions will continue without issue. Lemons and ruby grapefruit and tangerines from B&J Ranch will remain steady. Fairchild tangerines have a sharp price and are great for juicing! Blood oranges have started up; supply is limited but should improve as more growers come on. Kishu from Churchill Orchards have started. This variety is a cult favorite for its petite size and perfectly balanced sweet-tart flavor. Nagami kumquats are done. Meiwa kumquats are gapping until they color up.

Melon

Freezing temperatures in Mexico are impacting supply and may cause delays. Mini seedless watermelon and honeydew are expected to come on in mid-January. Limited amounts of Harper and Galia are available. 

Pomegranate

Pomegranate are expected to continue for two more weeks.

Vegetables

Asparagus

Green asparagus are gapping in supply due to quality issues. Supply should improve in a couple weeks as more growers come on. However, weather may cause delays.

Broccoli/Cauliflower

Local temperatures have dipped below freezing at night and slowed production for broccoli and cauliflower. Supply is impacted.

Brussels Sprout

Brussels sprouts have strong volume. This is a great item to promote during January to help kick-start shoppers’ New Year’s resolutions around healthier eating. Roasted, boiled or, sliced raw into cabbage and slaws—Brussels sprouts can be prepared in any number of ways.

Cabbage

Red and green cabbage are in good supply. We’re seeing promotable pricing on green cabbage.

Celery

Supply continues to be limited. Prices are likely to remain high until more producers enter the market in the second half of January.

Cucumber

English Hothouse cucumber are readily available at a sharp price. Persian and Slicer are limited.

Greens, Herbs & Lettuce

Demand is outpacing supply of greens, herbs, and lettuce. Cold and rainy weather is also impacting availability and contributing to labor issues. Short supply is expected to continue for a couple more weeks. Boxed greens and retail greens have better availability. Parsley is in steady supply. Chives and basil are gapping. Tarragon is not steady and cilantro may be limited due to freezing temperatures in the desert growing region.

Leek

Leeks are readily available with promotable pricing.

Mushrooms

Mushroom supply is steady on all varieties for the moment. However, we may see some shifts in availability if the temperature drops again.

Onion

Prices have gone up on all onions and sizes, which is not unusual after the holiday rush. Supply remains steady.

Pepper

The bell pepper market has changed dramatically from just a couple weeks ago. Supply is strong on all colors. Prices are coming down fast. Chilies are expected to continue with no gaps. Sweet peppers are limited.

Potato

Road Twenty Farm new-crop golden and red potatoes have come on. The first potatoes are harvested by hand to ensure sizing, consistency, and yield.  These spuds look beautiful and offer creamy delicious flavor. These are a staff and customer favorite!

Squash

Zucchini are limited. Mediums are not available. California-grown Butternut, Delicata, and Spaghetti are available. Kabocha and Acorn are done and will gap until the Mexico growing season starts up in February.

Tomato

One- and two-layer slicers are extremely limited. Romas are gapping in supply. Cherry tomato prices are up. Heirlooms are limited; we’re getting all that we can. Tomatoes-on-vine (TOV) are in good supply.

Floral

Thomas Farm and Full Belly are back from holiday and resuming normal shipping. Full Belly still has dried wreaths and dried bouquets available. The wreaths are handmade with seasonal dried flowers; no two are alike! Thomas Farm is continuing with seasonal bouquets. Keep an eye out for new varieties coming on including Dutch Iris, Tulips, Anemone, Sweet William, Calendula, Snap Dragon, Iris, and other winter blooms.

Wild Ridge Organics has steady supply of mixed Protea bouquets. This new grower specializes in unique South African and Australian drought-tolerant flowers. These blooms are truly beautiful and are perfect for drying!

Grocery

We offer a full line of organic maple products including maple syrup in glass containers and bulk sizes from Maple Valley Co-Op, a growers’ co-op. Make sure to stock up on maple sugar candy, which will now only be available for the winter season! Whipped maple cream will no longer be produced by Maple Valley, but we have the last few cases. All Maple Valley products are certified organic and free of additives, preservatives, and formaldehyde as well as being kosher-certified and vegan. Yum!

Merchandising Corner

The Importance of Clear Signage

New Year, new goals! No matter what goals are on your list to accomplish this year, growing sales is probably near the top. There are many strategies you can put in place to grow sales but there is one simple thing you can do that will have an immediate effect and is relatively easy to do with a little coordination. What is that, you ask? The answer is clear, consistent signage with accurate pricing.  

Product signs that are a consistent size and color and displayed well make an instant positive impact on the overall look of your department. Whether you have handwritten or printed signs, pick one size and color and stick with it. Different sizes and colors can be confusing to the customer and starts to look jumbled and messy. The objective is to make product information and pricing easy to read and find. A hassle-free shopping experience for customers makes the trip more pleasurable and successful. When they feel confident in the information provided to them about the product they are purchasing, they will be less likely to second-guess that purchase. Many of us focus on resets and changing up displays to create a new look and catch customers’ attention. While both of those are great and need to be done, revamping product signage is often overlooked. Try making this one change and see what a difference it makes in the overall look of your department.

Correct pricing goes hand in hand with cohesive signage. Ideally, all price changes should be done before the store opens for the day. This means submitting price changes in an appropriate timely manner, usually at least the day before. When pricing is off, it can cause many problems like loss of margin due to underpricing, discouraging purchases at the register when they ring up at a higher price, and creating a distrustful relationship due to unreliable pricing. Price changes can be assigned to a closing clerk so that signs are ready to go in the morning, or make signs in advance when you know a price will be changing and switch the signs out the morning that change goes into effect. Depending on your store, make price changes as often or infrequently as needed. Find a system that works for you. Accurate pricing not only benefits the customer but your department and the store overall.