Education is key to selling seafood

Few departments in the grocery store benefit more from having trained and knowledgeable staff than the seafood department.

Training can help drive sales and improve customer service, especially in the seafood department, where shoppers may have questions about source and sustainability, as well as proper storage and cooking methods for different types of fish.

Datassential’s 2021 research confirmed that seafood salespeople are the first resource for consumers looking for seafood information.

“These workers are essential not only to drive the purchase, but also to upgrade the purchase to a more profitable seafood species,” said Megan R. Rider, director of domestic marketing for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Price and quality are of course very important to seafood shoppers, but service is also one of the top three drivers when consumers decide where to shop, according to the IMF’s 2022 Power of Seafood Report. According to the report, 77% of consumers want to be more knowledgeable about how to cook and prepare seafood.

“Shoppers expect knowledgeable staff who give good advice and specialize in seafood,” Rider said.

That’s why ASMI recently launched a new Alaska Seafood U training tool that retailers can use to train their seafood department staff on what makes Alaska’s wild, natural and sustainable seafood so special.

Retailers and shoppers are hungry for information about seafood – 93% of retailers said they would like more education about seafood species and types, according to the 2022 FMI Power of Seafood report, and 73% would like more information about sustainability and environmental impact claims.

Knowledgeable and well-trained staff understand what shoppers are looking for, which encourages positive customer interactions. For example, knowing that sustainability, wild-caught and provenance are top priorities for consumers can help employees promote items that customers are looking for, Rider said.

ASMI’s Itsaski U

ASMI’s new Seafood U offers seven short online video training courses that workers can complete at their own pace, each followed by a quiz.

“Our intention is to deliver information in short, digestible chunks, so in seven modules,” Rider said. “A quiz for each section keeps the information alive and the flexibility to leave the user where they started and go at their own pace are also important components in making Alaska Seafood U as useful as possible.”

Topics covered include a background on Alaskan fisheries, the healthful properties of seafood, and lessons on the different species of Alaskan salmon, whitefish and shellfish and how they are harvested. All videos showcase the wild beauty of Alaska and the seafood species that inhabit its waters, with easy-to-follow narration filled with useful information for retail seafood employees.

The series begins with a four-minute overview of Alaska’s many fisheries and how they are responsibly managed, including information on Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification and more. It also includes information on the benefits of the freezing process for wild-caught Alaskan shellfish.

A second video explains the nutritional qualities of Alaskan wild-caught seafood, followed by a series of five videos that explain the differences between different types of Alaskan salmon, whitefish and shellfish, how they live, how they are caught and how they can be enjoyed at the dinner table. the best.

The training reflects ASMI’s deep understanding of the needs of seafood buyers and the evolution of Alaska seafood to include the fisherman’s origin story, Rider explained.

“It was important that the training support retail employees while telling the story of our brand: generations of Alaskan fishermen and fishing families work side by side amid the rugged and pristine beauty of the last frontier, responsibly harvesting the world’s best wild and sustainable seafood.”

Retail partners can track their progress online and return to unfinished modules, so they can work on completing the course when and where it suits them. When a retail associate completes the course, they receive a certificate of completion signifying their graduation from Alaska Seafood U.

“Alaska Seafood U graduates will go on to understand all of Alaska’s seafood species, what makes Alaska seafood sustainable, and the well-documented nutritional benefits,” Rider said.

Marketers can implement content-based promotions and encourage employees to sign up and complete Alaska Seafood U. ASMI can also provide support through promotional dollars or merchandising and swag.

Recipes sell seafood

Another major motivation for consumers to buy seafood is recipes. In fact, the recipes offered by the store are the first choice for shoppers who want to eat more seafood at home, according to ASMI research.

“We’ve partnered with retailers who have their employees participate in cooking competitions to learn how to cook seafood,” Rider said. “Then they take what they learned to the buyer and share recipe ideas. Every seafood worker should have a recipe they recommend to their customers, or some of their favorite rubs or sauces.’

Retailers can encourage seafood workers to work with local or corporate retail dietitians to develop recipes. This level of engagement can translate directly into additional sales revenue for retailers, and more importantly, create a positive impression among customers who want to put delicious, nutritious food on the table for themselves and their families.

“We’ve found that when seafood workers are involved in the creation, it’s easier to sell to the buyer,” Rider said.

In addition, the ASMIs Cook frozen® campaign provides retailers with recipes, videos and other materials to teach consumers how to prepare frozen seafood directly.

Training is important for retailers looking to immerse themselves in sales and provide a high level of customer service in the seafood department. ASMI’s Itsaski U provides tools marketers can use to achieve these goals.