Translating Seasonal Trends into Success on the Shelf

November 3, 2017

You pop into the grocery store after work to pick up just a few items when a bright package on an end cap catches your eye. As you round the corner, you see a whole display of chocolates, cookies, candles and hand soaps wrapped in poinsettia red, emerald green, snow white and sapphire blue packages, adorned with ribbons, snowflakes and snowmen. Almost instantly you feel a little sense of nostalgia and excitement for the winter and holiday season ahead. Other shoppers nearby stop to check out the display, too. Most put an item or two in their cart, looking forward to bringing home a little taste or smell of the season.

Sound familiar? It’s becoming a common sight this time of year as seasonal offerings increasingly offer retailers and brands an opportunity to differentiate themselves and give shoppers even more reasons to come into the store. And a growing number of retailers have begun leveraging their own private brands to get in on the action.

According to Diane Haight, Senior Manager of Creative Services for Daymon, retailers today have more opportunity than ever to introduce their own seasonal products and limited edition package designs, thanks to suppliers’ willingness to partner and be more flexible on minimums. But creating a product that stands out on the shelf isn’t as simple as changing package colors to red and green or adding a few snowflakes on everything in the store.

“Both the products and package designs should feel like an authentic fit for the season and the category,” says Haight. “They should also feel special and stand out from other offerings in the retailer’s lineup.” One package design strategy Haight says her team often uses is highlighting the limited edition nature of a product through icons or copy. “This might be done with the actual words ‘Limited Edition’ or with more seasonal cues, such as calling something a ‘Winter’ flavor or ‘Harvest Blend,’” says Haight.

This focus on seasons, rather than specific holidays, is deliberate, says Haight. “Because not everyone celebrates the same holidays, you have to walk a fine line. We’ve found that focusing the branding and design on the season not only helps avoid potential controversy, it also extends the length of time the product appeals to shoppers. If we brand a product ‘Christmas Candy Cane,’ after January 1, no one wants to buy it anymore. But if you brand it ‘Winter Peppermint,’ you can sell it into February.”

The imagery used on the packaging can also help boost its seasonal and uniquely flavor-forward appeal. The design for a limited edition pumpkin spice cereal, for example, might feature real pumpkins, cinnamon sticks and fall leaves. “You want these items to stand out on the shelf, and you want them to look like an indulgence,” Haight explains. “After all, they’re often an impulse purchase, so you want the packaging to help drive that.”

To learn more about how Daymon can help your seasonal and other private brand products stand out on shelf, contact Diane Haight, Senior Manager of Creative Services, at