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DIPPING OILS.

It's hard to believe there was a time when the only thing we spread on bread was butter. Now our butter knives rest pristinely on our plates while we dunk our crusty rolls into pools of irresistible bread-dipping oil. And with so many varieties to choose from, including Italian, Mediterranean, roasted tomato basil, and cabernet sauvignon -- bread tastes better than ever. Handing your customers a chunk of ciabatta or a slice of sour-dough and letting them have at your dipping oils will always be the most effective way to turn them on to this category, but you're missing out on a bounty of merchandising opportunities if you don't think outside the breadbox.

ENDLESS SUMMER SALADS

Don't let the name fool you -- bread-dipping oils add flavor to much more than a baguette. In fact, they're stellar in salads from mixed greens to slaws to grains. Take advantage of this fact at the beginning of next summer when temperatures rise and your customers' inclinations to cook fall. This is the ideal time to kick off an Endless Summer Salads Promotion that features your selection of dipping oils.

If you have a deli department, stage your event here. Each week for the entire summer, spotlight a different summer salad made with a dipping oil from your store. Hang an eye-catching sign in the deli that announces your Endless Summer Salads Promotion. Then place additional signage in the case describing the salad and stating the type of dipping oil used to make it. Cross-merchandise the week's featured dipping oil on a rack in the deli department. When you change your spotlighted salad at the start of each week, also change your featured dipping oil. To spark interest in the condiment aisle as well, create shelf talkers that read: "As featured in the chef's spinach and lentil salad" or "As savored in the chef's wild rice medley." Create one for every salad you make and position it next to the corresponding bottle of dipping oil. You'll also want to make recipes available of every salad in the Endless Summer Salads Promotion. Print them on recipe cards and make them available at your Dipping Oil Display in the deli.

If you don't have a deli department, you may still give your customers a summer full of delicious salad recipes made with dipping oils. Simply create a Dipping Oil Display that spotlights a different salad recipe each week. Pass out samples of the featured salads and encourage customers to recreate the experience at home.

BREAD-MAKING TIME

While dipping oils can be used in salad dressings, marinades, stir-frys, and grilling, they're still perfectly delicious when paired with a loaf of bread. To help your customers make the connection that dipping oils can be an everyday item with their daily bread, cross-merchandise them in the bakery department. For your display, arrange various bottles of dipping oils on a table. Fill small ceramic plates with the different kinds of oil for samplings and set chunks of bread in baskets around the table. The best time to do this is during rush-hour traffic -- between 5 and 7 p.m. on weeknights, when hungry customers are looking for dinner ideas. For added incentive, offer a loaf of your "bread of the day" at half price to anyone who buys a bottle of dipping oil.

DIP INTO BONUS SALES

Few women can resist the "free gift with purchase" promotions the major cosmetics companies have made a marketing staple. The gift is only offered for a limited time, so women are inclined to buy cosmetics right then and there, whether they need them or not. Why not take advantage of this successful concept with a Beauty of Bread-dipping Oils Promotion of your own? For a period of one or two weeks, offer a free gift of a small ceramic dipping bowl or a crusty baguette to anyone who buys two bottles of dipping oil. Promote your Beauty of Bread-dipping Oils Promotion with colorful signage suspended from the ceiling throughout your store -- much the way the cosmetics companies do. For those customers who want a little more bang for their bread-clipping oil buck, offer a "purchase with purchase." This is a more elaborate gift available for an additional cost that you would make available to any customer who buys one bottle of dipping oil. A picnic basket filled with a ceramic bowl, a loaf of bread, a bottle pourer, and a small cutting board would make an excellent "purchase with purchase." Offer this gift set at a special price that is lower than the price for each individual item.

BEST MERCHANDISING IDEAS

SNAPSHOTS

HOST AN ENDLESS SUMMER SALADS PROMOTION THAT FEATURES A DIFFERENT SALAD MADE WITH A PARTICULAR BREAD-DIPPING OIL EACH WEEK.

GET CUSTOMERS DIPPING ON A DALLY BASIS WITH A DIPPING OIL CROSS-PROMOTION IN THE BAKERY.

START A "FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE" FRENZY BY OFFERING A SMALL GIFT TO CUSTOMERS WHO BUY TWO BOTTLES OF DIPPING OIL DURING YOUR BEAUTY OF BREAD-DIPPING OILS PROMOTION.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Gourmet Retailer
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:830
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