Cannabidiol (CBD) presents a new and exciting opportunity for convenience retailers, many of whom are exploring options for how to make space for these products. Joe Vonder Haar, CEO of St. Louis, Mo.- based iSEE Store Innovations and a veteran of convenience merchandising solutions, encourages retailers look at it as they would any new opportunity.
“It is particularly true with merchandising that the retailer needs have to be the foundation to solutions, not an afterthought,” he said. “Retailers sell products, so products should be presented in a way that optimizes the whole store reality first and foremost.”
With over 30 years of experience in the convenience space, Vonder Haar sees four key considerations that hold as true for CBD merchandising solutions as they do for beer, soda, snacks and more:
- Realistic Size: With CBD currently being merchandised on the counter, a “right size” approach is key. Displays need to hold enough product as to not require constant restocks, but not be so large that they block line-of-sight for the backbar or monopolize limited counterspace. “Optimizing the retailer’s precious counterspace means stocking what will sell while minimizing the display footprint,” Vonder Haar said.
- Variable SKUs: One size rarely fits all within the convenience world, especially with a category evolving as quickly as CBD. Between gummies, vapes, tinctures, capsules and more, there is already no shortage of SKUs, and that’s not even taking into account the different size options of different brands. If a merchandising display only holds a specific SKU from a specific brand, it could quickly become obsolete, leaving retailers in a lurch, Vonder Haar cautioned.
- Eye-Grabbing: A founding principle of iSEE’s solutions has been to “let the product be the star.” This principle is easily applied to CBD, where consumers may not be aware of the product category at all, let alone that CBD is available within convenience. The unique challenge, Vonder Haar said, is the current limit on self-service. “Presentation of the product without making it directly accessible, pricing detail and clear education materials are all important to the retailer,” he said.
- Flexibility: Just like no two products are the same size, few counters in convenience are quite the same size. As such, Vonder Haar advocates for a modularity whenever possible to allow retailers to utilize one solution for as much—or as little—space as they may have (and add on if that changes). It’s a notion iSEE recently applied to beverage pusher displays with the new Modular PushGlide. “Even though there are millions of combinations of shelf facings and depth of shelfs, this simplifies it to one very flexible system,” Vonder Haar said. “If you need one or 100 rows on any shelf depth, this unit works. That concept works on the counter as well as the cold vault.”
Vonder Haar firmly believes this “team merchandising” approach) to display development won’t just benefit retailers, but suppliers as the CBD category continues to grow.
“Suppliers can make it easy for retailers to enter this category by bringing merchandising solutions that take into consideration the reality that retailers face,” he said.
Though iSEE does not currently offer CBD solutions, Vonder Haar teased that the company didn’t offer suction cup racks until the right opportunity presented itself. Now it’s what iSEE is known for.
“iSee is in the business of solving retail merchandising challenges,” he said. “Wherever those opportunities lead us, we will be pushing to innovate to create value.”
This post is sponsored by iSEE