The Power of Pairing: Best Practices for Integrated Retail Programs

The Power of Pairing: Best Practices for Integrated Retail Programs

June 5, 2019
Business Skills

We’ve all heard the saying, “two is better than one.” Turns out this has proven true in the retail space as well. Pairing nutrient-rich foods in a retail promotion, such as good fats from walnuts (2.5g/oz omega-3 ALA) with an array of nutrients from fresh produce, not only shows shoppers how to enjoy nutritious foods, but can provide value from a business standpoint, too. 

For example, the California Walnut Board has teamed up with a variety of produce categories, from apples and pears to bagged salads and avocados to offer bundled promotions, creative in-store demos, recipe videos, and in-store signage. These integrated tactics have resulted in sales increases ranging from 12 – 1100% during the promotional period. 

Implementing these strategic, integrated merchandising programs can be a powerful and creative way to generate shopper interest and excitement, deliver health messaging, bolster sales, and increase basket size and value. They can take shape in a variety of ways depending on a retailer’s capabilities, but there are a few key components that can help drive a strong program.

   To help you get started, we’ve identified 5 best practices for success: 

  1. Build from the bottom [line] up: Identifying shared goals and how they will be measured before proceeding to the tactics, sets a program up for success. Get the right people in the room -- whether this means produce buyers, category managers, dietitians, vendors, or others, ensuring all key players weigh in is necessary to build the program’s foundation. Aligning partners on metrics, whether in terms of volume, dollars, units sold, or community engagement establishes goals right from the start - both to work toward and demonstrate program performance throughout.
  2. Create the connection: As important as it is to agree on tangible goals is aligning on purpose and key messaging. Why do these two products complement one another? From a financial standpoint, this may mean tying together a popular and less expensive item with one that is a less frequent purchase. For the shopper, however, there must be a compelling and logical connection, whether nutritionally, culinarily, or preferably both – and the message to customers must be clear.
  3. Bundle the offer: While thoughtful messaging can speak volumes, there’s no denying that when it comes to driving purchases, financial perks speak just as loudly. Now that you’ve established the connection between the two products, it’s time to bundle them up into a deal your shoppers can’t pass up.
  4. Make it pop: Make your deal impossible to miss by creating off-shelf, dedicated merchandising that stands out in the store. It’s necessary to place the two products close together for convenience, but the rest is yours to create. Grab attention with eye-catching signage or displays that create intellectual and emotional engagement, and then drive shoppers to add the item to their cart with coupons, tasty recipe cards and simple tips and tricks.
  5. Market to your market: You know your shoppers best. Therefore, you know how to best reach them. Maybe they’re fans of in-store demos and sampling? Perhaps they’re all about efficiency, and focusing on the big, bold signage and convenient placement is the way to go? Or maybe you’re working with social-savvy shoppers who would engage best with a Facebook live video or Instagram story takeover? A well-designed program with a well-executed communications strategy is a recipe for success.

If you’re inspired to bring a powerful produce pairing promotion to your store, the California Walnut Board is here to help. Find out more and connect with us today at

* Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3.