Maximize your online sales with retailers - SKUFood
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Maximize your online sales with retailers

We all know there is more food being purchased online now in Canada than ever before. Since March the penetration of online sales has increased 5X to 12-15% of total sales. This varies by region and by retailer. In a very short time, online food purchases in Canada have increased to $1 out of every $8. This is a very significant change. Yes the retailers have had to implement a lot of change very quickly but maximizing sales in this new environment is not just the retailer’s job. Suppliers must work at it too.

This is a new environment to generate sales and it requires change to maximize the opportunity.

This month in our Recipes for Success, presented by FCC we have explored 4 important areas to focus and increase your sales in this new environment. We have talked about:

  • Service level
  • The new retail environment
  • Sampling
  • Virtual relationships

If you missed any of these Recipes for Success, presented by FCC, click on the link to watch the recording.

You have heard me say a supplier’s job is not done until the product makes it into the shopping cart and this is true for the virtual shopping cart as well.

This week we will be discussing what suppliers need to do to maximize their sales on retailer’s websites. Now that $1 out of $8 is being spent in this medium, you must be aware of what is being done and how you can increase your sales.

Join us this week on Wednesday September 30 at 2pm Atlantic (1pm Eastern), as we will discuss how suppliers can maximize sales on retailer’s e-commerce sites.

Here are our top 3 things suppliers should be doing to maximize sales on retailer’s online shopping sites:

1. Check out your customer’s websites weekly

Your customers have had to increase their capacity very quickly to meet consumer demand. That can lead to challenges when they are trying to manage thousands of SKUS with prices and availability changing all the time.

Review the sites each week to ensure your product is there and priced correctly. Some websites will eliminate items if the stock is not available in the store you select so you might have a service level issue if your product has disappeared from the online shopping. Regardless of the reason, consumers cannot buy the item. That means you and your customer will lose sales.

If you do find your item missing you should take a screen shot and share it with your contact at the retailer. Often, IT people, as opposed to merchants, manage the e-commerce sites so they are not as familiar with the item mix.

2. Conduct consumer research for online shopping

Watch consumers navigating your customer’s sites to determine of they can find your items. It is very important that your target market can find your item the way they would look for it.

We recommend you have a number of people in your target market try to find your product. Just ask them to ‘shop’ and see where they go and how they can find the products they are looking for. Some items are not listed as they are merchandised in the store.

Share your insights with your customers. Try to give them some broad feedback and include what happens with your item. If you only talk about your product your chances of change will be lower.

3. Bring ideas forward you see on other retailer’s websites

We know travel is restricted right now so you have to travel on your computer. You can check out retailers from around the world with out leaving your chair. There are some great websites that offer value to consumers and sell product.

No different that taking photos of stores, you can share some insights from these websites with screen shots. Find really great ideas, not just any idea. Share them with your customer at the appropriate time. Most food retailers are experiencing increased sales online so they are putting more emphasis on their e-commerce offerings. Make sure you focus on retailers similar to your customer. For example you should not share photos of recipes in full service conventional stores with a discount retailer. They will never implement the idea and it shows you do not understand them.

Here is a list of retailer’s websites to get you started;

These are stores in Texas that cater to the higher end conventional shopper.

These are some of the best conventional stores in the North Eastern U.S. Great fresh departments and prepared foods.

The U.K. market is very competitive and Tesco services a significant share and they have formats in many countries across Europe and Asia where online shopping penetration is very high.

These premium stores in the U.K. are famous for supplying royalty. Many other people in the country enjoy their prepared foods and private label.

South African shoppers are fortunate to have these conventional stores where you will see some different ideas for packaging and products.

With 27 stores and one of Canada’s original online food stores, you can learn a lot here. They offer a lot of prepared foods to compliment the regular offering.

As one would expect Stew Leonard’s bring their entertaining approach to shopping to their website as well. Although not everyone can execute their program it is interesting to see what they are doing.

We do have 12 tips to maximize your sales so join us for our Recipe for Success on September 30th at 2pm Atlantic (1pm Eastern) to get all 12 tips!

October Recipes for Success, presented by FCC

It is exhilarating to produce products and figure out how to get them to market successfully. It can be a challenge to focus on the numbers but that is how you generate the best return for all of your hard work. When you understand the numbers that you control and that are out of control, you have a much better opportunity to deliver the best results.

October 7- Gross margin and mark up are two terms that are used a lot in the food industry. Unfortunately, some people assume they are the same thing. We will explain how to calculate both numbers and why different people need to use one or the other. Retailers focus on gross margin and it is important for producers and processors to speak their language. We will also help you calculate category margins from retail prices.

October 14- Retail pricing, gross margin and contribution margin are all metrics retailers focus on. Each of these calculations impact producers and processors. It is important to understand your customer’s expectations and how you fit in their plans. Suppliers cannot set retails or margins but when you understand them, you can predict the impact on your products. We will explore these numbers in different departments across the store.

October 21- Unfortunately, we have trained consumers in food and beverage to look for items on temporary price reduction (TPR). Your customers expect you to offer discounts to support their TPR programs. Suppliers must build this into their marketing and sales plan to compete in today’s retail environment. When you understand how much to discount your price and what the results will be, you can build a much more effective plan. We will also illustrate how much you have to sell to make it all back.

October 28- There are many costs associated with producing great food and beverage products. You need to understand every cost right through until your product goes into the consumer’s shopping cart. We will explore some of the costs you incur after production such as brokers and distributors. There are many options and you should consider them all before you find the right solution for your products that will maximize sales and profits.

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 example of this.

If you want to talk about generating sales in this new environment or need some advice just send me an email at or give me a call at (902) 489-2900.