The correct variety selection, shelf position and merchandising can help retailers substantially increase apple category sales, according to a new analysis by Columbia Marketing International.

The most successful retailers use those and other tools to steer consumers away from low-priced varieties to higher-priced varieties, Steve Lutz, CMI’s vice president of marketing, said in a news release announcing the analysis.

“We looked at three years of apple category performance data for retailers all over the U.S.,” Lutz said. “There are some fairly basic approaches used by top retailers to drive apple sales that the guys at the back of the pack miss. It appears that the specific tools consistently used by top supermarkets can be implemented by just about any retailer of any size, but are missed by low performing supermarkets.”

Among the other findings in the analysis, CMI found that while consumers like to browse the entire apple category, they usually buy a single variety.

The study also found that the most successful retailers offer much more variety.

“The data shows that the top performing supermarkets carry an average of 40 unique apple SKU’s every week,” Lutz said. “That makes for a very dynamic category and allows retailers to mix the promotion and merchandising to drive sales.”