Hard to believe it has been a year since I stopped into a grocery store on Friday March 13, 2020 because we needed a few things. The store was crazy and people were grabbing almost anything they could find. It was so tempting to ask them if they really needed the products they were buying in bulk. I will admit there is something that impacts your thought process. Perhaps it is that survival instinct, because I knew we had toilet paper at home but I did consider purchasing the last package from the shelf.
A lot has changed but people do still need to eat. I do believe we had some great examples of people (yes people) not thinking like suppliers and retailers, working together to get product to stores and keep Canadian stores in stock.
One of the things we did was get away from our C.A.R.T. process. In a time of rapid change, people need to react and find solutions and do not always believe following a process is the right decision. When we learned more and began to understand we are in this for a longer period of time we revisited our C.A.R.T. process and one positive was that it really is effective in this time of change. It forced us to ask the right questions.
There is no doubt much has changed and we need to ask these questions today. It is interesting how some of the answers for your business might be different. It is time to think about how your consumers have changed. The second question in our C.A.R.T. process is:
How do people eat/use/cook your products?
With a lot of changes to consumers over the last 12 months the way they use your products might have changed. We know people are eating more meals at home, eating breakfast and lunch at home and probably looking for some ideas to make meals interesting.
Last week we talked about who your consumers are. This is the starting point for so much of what you have to do.
Perhaps your products would provide that restaurant quality experience at home? If they do give consumers that little treat they need so much right now, make sure you help them get there. Perhaps they are used to having fish tacos in a restaurant but now you can help them make them at home.
Many times, it is just giving them the idea and then they will buy.
If consumers are using your products for breakfast now have you provided any ideas, tips and recipes to help them?
With more meals being prepared at home recipes are popular. People are looking for something new and some need help. Remember your target market when you are creating recipes. If your consumers like to cook and want to use local products give them more involved recipes and collaborate with other local producers or processors. On the flip side if you target market want a meal in 20 minutes create a less complicated option with ingredients they might already have around the house.
If you have been developing your online community ask them how they eat/cook and use your products. They might have some really creative ideas you never even considered. You can also celebrate their responses on social media. User generated content is very powerful.
Perhaps the past year has impacted your consumers and you need to always consider how fast consumers are changing. The key is to ask the question:
How do they eat/cook/use my products?
Once you know the answer you can think about some of the changes from even 1 year ago. As you build your sales and marketing plans are you addressing how they could use your product today or are you stuck with what they were doing 1 year ago? Consumers are changing fast and you need to keep up with them.
At the end of March I will be moderating a panel of producers and industry experts on "Consumer Trends In Agriculture" as part of the Minister of Agriculture Digital Series.
If you have any questions about how to get your local products on the shelf or in the shopping cart you can always call me at (902) 489-2900 or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.