Shopping for food and beverage has changed more in the last 6 months that it did in the previous 6 years. I was trying to think of a change that is comparable and perhaps it goes all the way back to when the industry shifted to scanning and the use of UPC codes. Believe it or not I do remember the days of pricing every item. Working part time in a store I was never able to keep up with the full time employees when it came to a pricing gun. It was a badge of honour to walk around with the long trail of used tape coming off ‘the gun’. When scanning was implemented there were a lot of changes. Aisles were re-configured for shelf labels, cashiers had to change their work and consumers really were skeptical they would be charged the right price. It was a big change.
Since March of this year we have experienced stores modified to protect employees and customers. Just last week I saw a woman who realized she was going against the arrows in an aisle so she turned her cart around and walked backwards down the entire aisle, shopping as she went. Her cart was facing the right direction but she was still going against the flow. Not sure that was really effective for her or other shoppers.
Despite the changes we need to focus on generating sales.
Your business and your customer’s business still depend on volume and the new shopping environment requires you to think and execute differently.
Yes the physical store has changed but that is not really the area you should focus on. Let retailers figure out what needs to be done, that is their job.
You need to focus on consumers. They are behaving differently and you need to understand this to generate more sales.
From our observations and discussions/comments from industry people here are 4 areas to focus on:
- Consumers are not ‘shopping’ like they used to. There is more urgency to get in and out so you need to get on their list before they go to the store.
- Consumers want to know where their food is coming from more than ever. Product of Canada and your story need to be clear and the best scenario is they know it before they get to the store.
- Consumers are living in a different world. Acknowledge that and figure out how does your product help them. Kids are back to school in many areas this week so perhaps you have something there or with restaurant meals still down there could be an opportunity to help them prepare a special meal. Find the point of differentiation in this environment, not the one they were living in prior to March.
- Get the basics right. Your customers and consumers do not have time for items that do not scan, are out of stock or have bad code dates. Make sure your products are getting to the shelf, flow through the store and perform once they get home.
Join us Wednesday September 9 for our SKUFood Recipe for Success, presented by FCC. We will talk about generating sales in this new environment.
As part of SKUFood flexibility we are pleased to share a link to last weeks Recipe for Success, presented by FCC. We talked about service level and how important it is right now.
September Recipes for Success, presented by FCC
September 9- The retail environment has changed and this impacts retailers and suppliers. Consumers are shopping the store differently. They want to get in and get out, more people are shopping with a list and they are buying more when they are in the store. Your strategy needs to evolve to this new environment and some of the tactics you might have used in the past will be less effective. We will find the right solutions to get your products off the shelf and into the shopping cart.
September 16- In store demos were a tactic employed by many food businesses. The satisfaction of talking to consumers about products and getting them to commit to a purchase was very popular. Most retailers have eliminated these from stores so we need to find alternatives. We will suggest some alternatives that might be more effective once you get used to working differently. Join me and our guest Meg Tsvetkova from Sampler for a special session on their offering and how it works for food producers and processors.
September 23- Developing relationships with existing and potential customers have moved to online meetings and trade shows. Your objectives are still the same, but the tactics you need to employ have changed. There are advantages to the new world we are all operating in and we will help you find them. Virtual meetings can be very effective and now you have the opportunity to attend trade shows anywhere in the world, while sitting at your desk. With proper preparation these platforms can have a very positive impact on your business. Alain Bosse, The Kilted Chef will join me to share some insights about how they have helped producers and processors develop relationships with customers and consumers. Just in time for everyone participating in SIAL!
September 30- Online shopping has increased dramatically since March. It has had a big impact on retailer’s operations but it also impacts producers and processors. Consumers shop differently when they order online. All of the investments made in store are worthless for the 10-15% of consumers who are now shopping online. We will discuss how you can communicate with them in advance and get on their list. The execution is different with each retailer and it will continue to evolve. Your strategy needs to be unique with each customer as well.
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.” Communicating with your customers in these challenging times is an examples of this.
If you want to talk about generating sales in this new environment or need some advice just send me an email at Peter@SKUFood.com or give me a call at (902) 489-2900.