We have all been busy this year just trying to adapt and understand what needs to be done right away. Timelines have changed and priorities have changed as well. One thing that can get pushed to the “I will do it later” list is communicating with retailers about results and performance. I am sure you are communicating about orders, availability and other pressing issues. These are important but you also need to keep building your relationship.
Find the opportunities
Communicating with category managers has changed. Many are working from home and some people I have talked to at different retailers believe this is a much more effective set up. They see the long, unproductive meetings now and they realize the category managers can actually focus on their category when they are not sidetracked. It is also easier to get their attention because they are not distracted in the office.
It is different and you need to find the opportunities and benefit from them. This week on our Recipe for Success, presented by FCC we will be talking about some of the topics you should be communicating to your customers.
Join us Wednesday August 19 at 1 pm Atlantic (1 pm eastern) to discuss how you should be looking at your business and communicating this to your customers.
Plan the communication
To help you plan your communication to your customers we have put together a simple calendar for you to use. You cannot do everything all the time but there are certain events and times you can communicate.
We have adapted the list to work in these challenging times. There are no in person industry events but there are virtual ones so be ready and learn how to excel in these areas. This will differentiate you from your competition and keep your products on the shelf.
Many people have had a much needed break with a lot of vacations in August. They will be back and looking to finalize plans for the critical fourth quarter. Now is the time to be communicating with them.
There are 12 opportunities for personal interaction where you can focus on your message and communicate what is relevant between you and that customer. There are also 22 opportunities for your customer to interact with your business, your products or you. These are more general in nature but it all impacts your reputation and the relationship. When I was at Loblaw I visited the U-pick of one of our suppliers. For the first 10 minutes I was inundated with messages about the great relationship they had with our competitor. To say I was not happy is an understatement. You always have to consider your customer in the communication that is out there.
Check out our customer touchpoint calendar to plan your communication with retailers and build your relationship effectively.
August Series- Your response to the changes in the market
In the last 2 weeks of August we will discuss how you can assess your response to the issues related to the changes in the market.
August 19- So much has changed since March 2020. You should understand the impact on your business, good and bad. Some food and beverage businesses have been able to adapt and deliver great performance while others have struggled. You need to assess what has happened and the impact to your employees, your cost of goods and your ability to service your customers. Once you have an objective assessment you need to communicate to your customers. They have been focused on getting inventory to their stores and operating in a very different retail environment. It is time to let them know how you are doing and if there will be changes going forward. We will share insights into how you can assess your performance and communicate with your customers. This will be important in your relationship with your customers going forward. Soon we will be into the 4th quarter, which is the most important selling period of the year in food.
August 26- Every business has experienced changes to cost of goods. Labour efficiencies are lower due to physical distancing in production and there are many extra costs for hygiene and personal protective equipment. Some input costs have increased as well as your suppliers react to their own reality. Your selling price needs to reflect the changes you are experiencing. We will give you a process to follow to help you get the price increase you require with your customers. No one likes to see prices go up but they have to when your cost of goods are changing. Peter will share his experience working with a retailer to give you insights and the questions you need to answer to get the right price for your product. Peter has over 19 years working in retail and understands what your customers need to hear for you to be successful.
At SKUFood we understand it is important to give back. We have the ability to share insights and information you can use in your food business right away. If we were able to get in the same room for an event you would hear me say, “Success in the food industry is not just about making great products to sell; it is about selling the great products you make.” Telling your story effectively is one critical piece of selling the great products you make.
If you want to talk about your story or need some advice just send me an email at Peter@SKUFood.com or give me a call at (902) 489-2900.