Leveraging The Newly Important Grilling Season

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of family, friends — and washing our hands. As varying regulations on social gatherings lift per state, backyard gatherings will take on a whole new meaning. They will become an escape from a pandemic that has kept loved ones apart for months. 

Nothing is normal right now, but our next normal can be. A day spent in the backyard grilling with friends and family will give us a sense of normalcy in uncertain times. It also harkens back to a “Leave it to Beaver” era, when families spent less time eating out and more time at home, together, as a family.

With staycations becoming the new vacations, furniture and home goods retailers are seeing a massive uptick in grilling, pool and outdoor furniture items, according to a CNBC report. The NPD Group found that sales of outdoor and sports toys alone increased by $193 million during April, 2020, up 51% over the same period last year.



For retailers, here are some ways to ensure both your online and brick-and-mortar presence is prepared for grilling season’s next normal. 

Keep essential products at the front of the store. Grilling season will bring people back together, but make it easy for buyers who are no longer browsing each aisle. Have everything upfront for fast, one-stop shopping.

Mimic this experience online. If grilling and outdoor entertaining essentials are in one place in-store, create a dedicated section of your website where items needed for a socially distanced BBQ can be added to your online cart from one page. 

Create a grilling/BBQ checklist. Place it front of store, alongside coordinating retailtainment. Cover all your bases. Include large purchases like grills, outdoor furniture, toys, games and coolers, but also typical necessities like hamburgers, hot dogs, rolls, buns, potato chips, Cole slaw, ketchup, mustard, and disposable plates. 

Partner with related brand(s) to offer discounts to consumers. Say you’re Weber Grill. Why not team up with hamburger and hot dogs brands to offer a discount when either a grill, or an accessory, is purchased along with a dozen hamburger patties and a package of hot dogs?

Offer at-home delivery of outdoor grilling kits. Not everyone feels comfortable about brick and mortar shopping. For online orders, throw in a themed surprise like patriotic paper plates, or offer a discount on assembly of big-ticket items.

Strengthen your supply chain. My colleague Glenn Geller discussed this in his last column. Plug any weak spots in your supply chain before the influx of consumer needs overwhelms it.

July is national grilling month and July 4 is the most popular grilling day of the year. What’s more patriotic than baseball, BBQ and apple pie?

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

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