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Gelson's Markets Sean Sáenz Discusses Building Experiences in Lead-Up to Labor Day Weekend

Gelson's Markets Sean Sáenz Discusses Building Experiences in Lead-Up to Labor Day Weekend

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

This weekend, my family will head to an overlook at the beach to watch the sunset. It’s a weekly summer ritual, of which going to the grocery store so everyone can pick their favorite snacks is a crucial stop. If you ask my mother-in-law, the grocery trip—everyone teasing or envying each other’s choices—is part of the experience as a whole.

Sean Sáenz, Vice President of Fresh Foods, Gelson's Markets“It’s great to see customers enjoying the social bonding inherent in a shared meal, especially reflecting on the personal and professional disruptions of COVID-19. I feel an enhanced appreciation for it all,” Sean Sáenz, Vice President of Fresh Foods for Gelson’s Markets, recently shared with me.

Gelson’s is definitely one of the banners catering to the experiential grocery trip, and together Sean and I explored maximizing this approach as Labor Day weekend marks the change of the seasons.

Gelson’s Markets is employing creative Labor Day strategies, utilizing merchandising to create or enhance the seasonal shopping experience

“With summer closing, customers can maximize their downtime by pairing ready-to-serve grilled proteins with light and refreshing salads—both great categories for driving convenience and sales. A customer favorite, Gelson’s grilled Sriracha Shrimp Skewers with Hatch Chile Heirloom Tomato Salad are both seasonal and perfect for patio dining,” Sean pointed out.

Gelson’s does much in-house to offer such specialties, as well as utilizing merchandising to create or enhance that experience, in addition to key supply partnerships. When it comes to further bolstering this weekend’s Labor Day opportunities and beyond, Sean said quality merchandising will always be grounded in the basics of displaying fresh and appealing products.

“In addition to quality, sufficient quantities create a presence and grab shoppers’ attention. Likewise, attribute-driven signage is a must as well. Gelson’s seeks to enhance the customer’s experience through a heavy application of cross-departmental merchandising. So, many great items from outside the department fill the basket and satiate the customer’s desire to shop for meals, not items,” Sean explained.

To further bolster this weekend’s Labor Day opportunities, Gelson’s is sparking impulse purchases by displaying sufficient quantities and delivering on convenience

Based in Southern California, a Gelson’s customer’s definition of convenience can be diverse. The time-starved shopper might seek the same quality items found in the service case in a pre-pack instead. Those shopping for their whole family may also seek convenience, but in a meal deal.

“At Gelson’s, we seek to satisfy the multiple definitions of convenience by considering scale,” Sean shared as we discussed supply options. “Pre-packaged items and meal deals should be available in servings from one to four to best enhance the customer experience. Meanwhile, we work to ensure well-constructed displays that easily answer the question ‘What’s for dinner?’”

It’s a crucial question I and many consumers continue to ask, whether on the way to the beach or simply headed home for one last dinner on the porch. As we bid farewell to another summer, here is to all the outdoor eating that keeps our industry critical to the season’s experiences.

Gelson’s Markets