A question I ask food producers and processors often is, “who is buying your products?” You would be surprised by the answers I get. The most popular answer seems to be ‘yes we know, it is women 18-35’. Other suppliers believe consumers with higher education or income purchase their products.
That just is not enough in today’s competitive market place. You need to know who is buying and why they are buying. Your customers, the retailers are all becoming more sophisticated about who is shopping their stores and even what they are buying. Loyalty programs provide a gold mine of data about shoppers and shopping habits. If they have the resources and the desire, the data is there. Now with more consumers buying online they are even able to build profiles and predict what consumers will buy. Amazon is the leader here for sure. Some retailers are doing a lot of work to predict inventory requirements based on purchases and even Internet searches.
It is your job to ensure your products sell. Therefore you need to know who is buying and why. To understand who is buying you have options. You can purchase the data when you participate in loyalty programs, depending on the retailer. You can pay market research firms to conduct surveys or track purchase behavior. You can visit stores and watch people shop your category. You can talk to the people who follow you online ore call your 1-800 number. There are many methods to figure out who is buying your products. The best solution is likely a combination of sources. Qualitative and quantitative to give you the whole picture.
You also need to understand why they buy. When I ask suppliers “Why do consumers buy your products?” I get some standard answers. Most start with ‘they like it’ or they start to list features of the product. Most often, consumers do not buy for features; they buy for benefits. What does it do for them? A snack for kids might be healthy which is a feature but they buy it because the kids will eat it and it is good for them. There is a difference.
There are better answers to the question why do they buy? You need to know them if you are going to build programs and campaigns to get your product moving off the shelf. Highlighting the benefits to consumers and getting more to buy for these reasons can reduce the dependence on price. Your customers turn to price because it is what they know. Give them options and help them see opportunities. You both want more sales and profits.
So next time I ask you “who is buying your products and why?” I look forward to a great conversation based on facts and observations. You will have more productive conversations with your customers too. Think of the sales you will generate when you really know who to target and reinforce the reason they are buying.
If you want to be successful in the food industry and you want to learn more, join us for C.A.R.T 2018 September 26 & 27 in Halifax N.S. We will explore consumers and help you understand them better. We will create an environment where you can focus on getting more of your products in more shopping carts more often. We are limiting it to the first 50 food businesses that register. For more information visit www.skufood.com/live/