Becoming a Storyteller

June 4th, 2010 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Becoming a Storyteller

My biggest gripe with the organic and natural foods retail community is in-store messaging. Now, I am definitely broad stroking here, and am not looking to offend any store or make anyone feel defensive or uncomfortable, so I apologize upfront in case I do. Perhaps it’s just reflective of the stores I have been to, but even if that’s the case, I am going to extrapolate from those visits, make a rather sweeping generalization, and proclaim that we all need to do a better job of “Telling the Organic Story”. If that phrase sounds familiar, it’s because I tend to periodically get on my soapbox about this issue.

We have this amazing story to tell about organic foods, and yet I don’t really get hit with that story when I go into most stores. I tend to think it’s because we are all so involved on a daily basis with this story, because we are so immersed in the product and our daily activity is all about organic, that somehow it feels like we must be getting the story out to our shoppers. My theory is that we do a great job of talking about it amongst ourselves, and sometimes feel like that is the same thing as sharing it with the community of shoppers who come through the door. It’s not.

One of the easiest and most effective methods for getting the Organic Story out there is through in-store signage. When a shopper walks into your store, it should immediately be apparent to them that your operation is a destination point for organic food. It’s easy to think, “well, if they’re already shopping here, then they must be fairly aware and educated about organic food”. This may or may not be true. People are constantly coming to your store for the first time – some because they are interested in organic food and are looking for some assistance and expertise. Although seeing and enjoying wonderful food will certainly be a major part of their experience in your store, knowing that they have come to a place that seems knowledgeable about the product will certainly be comforting and reassuring to that shopper. All of which makes your store a desirable place to shop.

Information is power – for both you and your customers. Your store should be a visual playground of information for your customers. To help this project along, you can click here to download a poster that we’ve created (with the help of The Organic Trade Association) that provides 10 great reasons to shop organic. You can download the PDF file and print out the poster to use in you store. It’s large enough (17”x24”) that you may need to find a Kinkos or sign shop for the output, but the expense should be pretty minimal. It’s not a panacea for all your signage needs, but it’s a start. If you’re already further along with your in-store signage, then this can hopefully be a nice addition to your evolving storytelling process. On the same page of our website where you will find this sign, there are also many other posters and banners you can download – so help yourself!

Thanks for letting me rant. You’ll be happy to know I am now stepping down from my soapbox. Enjoy your weekend!