This proposal was created for Wegmans food markets to explain the KBS program to managers and store employees.
KBS is not so much about the selling of things but rather the exchange of knowledge about certain products. Granted, we would like to be selling but making sure people understand what they are getting should be paramount. Therefore, ingredients should be stressed, as well as how to make the meal from scratch if that is what a customer is looking to do.
This is an area where the KBS seller, TLs, and Manager want to set expectations that are both lofty yet reasonable. As we know, KBS sellers are often presenting an item for the first time to the public. This draws three types of customers:
1. The Sampler – the proud, the few, the simply hungry
2. The Taker – tries sample, asks questions, willing to try
3. The Maker – tries sample, asks questions, and makes their own recipe
These groups are quite specific in terms of actual units sold. The Sampler can be moved to buy should they want to simply try something new (often an S.O. will tip them over the edge). Takers are curious to see what you have to say, what the ingredients are, and want to be talked into buying. Makers will listen intently, share an idea they have for making your meal better and thank you graciously for your help.
STORE SPECIFIC EVENTS
As a small store, we have very little extra space for events. Often, they are spread throughout the store. One idea would be to set up a station from Prepared Foods such as Meat or Seafood in the grocery department for a day or two. We could also shake the process up and put them in the highest traffic areas in the store. KBS stations are portable as are 2ft display cases.
Another possible idea would be to have similar items being KBSed in different departments under the same themes. Have a burger taste-off where customers could be given a “scorecard” at the front door and would then try various burgers around the store: Veggie, Meat, Seafood, etc. This would allow for some friendly department competition and really push sales either for the day or weekend. In the end, we can look at the scorecards and whoever has the highest score gets a Wegmans gift card.
LENT [Feb 14-Mar 29]
Have a Friday cart at the front of the store during lunch hours. Offer some kind of fish sandwich, whether it be breaded cod/haddock or Salmon burgers with a side and/or drink. This will give visibility to the product while also helping customers with their tradition and gauge interest to see if the idea should be continued in oncoming weeks.
One piece we continue to discuss is the individuals who come into the store looking to get inspiration from KBS for things they can make at home. Therefore, I suggest that not only should we market the RTC meals but fresh fish as well. I propose a three-ingredient recipe. We take a fish we would like to push and find three ingredients to be added to it to create the centerpiece for a great meal. Items could be as easy as teriyaki marinade and specific herbs and/or veggies. The 2ft case would be placed beside an ice table with the particular fish and filled with the three ingredients for people to take home.
One item we do not use as much with KBS is the portable grill surface. Having talked to multiple customers who grill year-round, we have seen that they are looking for basic grilling fish. Occasionally they will ask for items like grill planks even though we see those as seasonal. Therefore, it might behoove us to try a grilling instructional day to highlight the basics of great grilling fish and the best techniques for grilling on an open surface.
Front and Center
A key area in the store for KBS is the front door. Because of this, there is always some merchandising from other departments in that area. I believe that the KBS program should be on a continuous rotation with other departments during the week and weekends even when there is no specific event. We’ve shown time and time again that the traffic you get up front has an impact on sales and to ignore that area or fill it with produce doesn’t do us much good. I, therefore, suggest that we discuss the consistent use of that prime real estate by KBS sellers.
One aspect of Wegmans that we do not normally push to the public is the Wegmans app coupons. For example, customers can get $2.00 off any RTC item. I believe that can help sales of KBS products. When there is a coupon like that, it should be promoted at the KBS station and/or in the front display where RTC items are being displayed. This would allow people to justify and offset the high cost of some of our meals. It might actually behoove us to have the official “how to become a Wegmans reward member” pamphlet on those days. KBS sellers could add the coupons to their normal spiel.
With the KBS schedule seeing additional days on Fridays and Mondays (in some cases Thursdays) there needs to be more brainstorming regarding the product. Mostly due to the fact that with less foot traffic during the week it might not be necessary to be making large amounts of RTC meals. With that in mind, I believe that the KBS sellers should be working with the Team Leaders and Managers to design programs around specialty fish* we may be getting on any particular day. This will help sell these fish even more and will give KBS sellers additional learnings on how to cook and prepare these items.
*Please note: due to prohibitive costs and the amount of seafood used over the course of a day/week we may not be able to sustain this momentum on a regular basis.
The KBS seller must understand what they are sampling and how to make food interesting and fun. Fish can be intimidating and customers will have questions. Knowing the meals, their ingredients, and allergens are a great first step. However, it is imperative that the KBS sellers are allowed time during normal work hours to research new ideas to share with the team. This will also allow for any changes to items, possible instances of going off-grid when necessary, and generally making sure that what is being prepared has a wide appeal.
In the end, these changes will have a positive impact on the KBS program. In turn, this will also help the store sales. When departments are able to come together, the final product often helps them all.