How will you determine consumers and customers trust you?
We have talked about how you define trust and some of the opportunities you have to build trust with consumers and customers. If you are doing all of this work how will you determine if it is working?
Trust is tough to measure and my experience has been it changes with actions. Sometimes events or industry issues beyond your control will impact your relationship with customers. It is important to consider how you will measure the trust consumers and customers have with your brand, your products and you as a sales person.
In our C.A.R.T. process T stands for Trust. My experience has been suppliers want to invest their time and efforts on consumers and customers but lose sight of how important it is to develop trust. The Trust column includes the question; How will you determine if consumers and customers trust you?
Assess the trust consumers have with your products
One of the best measurements of trust is repeat purchases. If you are selling in retail this can be difficult to measure. One option you do have with some retailers is loyalty programs. Sobeys knows who is buying when they have an Airmiles card as do Loblaw with PC Optimum. These programs are not free but if you can learn more about your consumers and determine something like repeat purchases your investment might return more than just a sign.
If you are selling online this is an opportunity to learn much more about your consumers. If you are doing order fulfilment and shipping you can really measure the repeat purchases you are generating. We see many of the big brands creating their own direct to consumer online models. A big reason for these investments is to learn about consumers.
Product reviews are another source of information you can use to understand what consumers think of you. Many consumers rely on reviews to guide their purchases and with more food being bought online, reviews are more important than ever.
If you have a 1-800 number and/or online feedback you can communicate with consumers there as well. Make it a two way conversation and ask them questions when they take the time to reach out. You can learn so much when you ask the right questions.
Assess the trust customers have with you, your business and your products
This is an important and sometimes complicated relationship to assess. You can have a great relationship with the category manager but if your service level drops below acceptable levels all of your good work can be destroyed.
One opportunity to assess the level of trust you have with your customers is how quickly they respond to you. If you communicate and always get a prompt response then you should consider it a decent relationship where there is some trust. If you cannot get an answer or feel like you are being ignored you should be concerned. Everyone has phone and/or email access all the time. If you are not getting communication back there is a problem with the relationship. You need to work on it and build the level of trust.
Include some basic metrics like sales growth, service level and warehouse rejections to see how they would view the trust level. If you are performing at or above expectation in all these areas you should be building trust.
Assess the number of opportunities you are getting. If you are confident you are getting your fair share or more of over and above merchandising, ads and other opportunities the trust is there and they have confidence in your execution. If you walk the store and say to yourself, “why aren’t my products in that program or why is my competitor getting more off shelf opportunities?” you should be concerned about the level of trust they have in you or your business to execute.
Sometimes we assume we are doing a great job. Take the time to assess the level of trust your consumers and customers have in your products, your business and you. You might not always like the conclusion you come to but the sooner you get things back on track the better!
If you have any questions or help figuring out how to get your product 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.
We are adding more industry updates and interesting ideas to your SKUFood newsletter. If you see things happening let us know so we can share them with our community. We also want to hear if you find this helpful and benefits your food and beverage business!
Big changes south of the border at Thanksgiving
I am sure you are familiar with Black Friday and the shopping frenzy that happens at Thanksgiving in the U.S. It is the start of the holiday shopping period and famous for some crazy deals, big numbers of consumers in stores and retail employees working while many others are off.
Walmart and Target have already announced they will be closing on Thanksgiving Day to give employees a day off. This was also done last year in the height of the pandemic. It is a nice gesture for staff but also an indication how much they are selling online and confident they will not lose ground to the competition.
More sustainable news from big players
McCain Foods has set a target of 2030 for purchasing all of the potatoes they use for French fries from farms using sustainable practices. It is a lot of potatoes! They say the 149,733 hectares of potatoes will be produced with a practice that promotes biodiversity, increases water efficiency, protects against erosion, captures more carbon and creates greater resilience to droughts and floods.
We see more large companies shifting their practices to meet the changing demands of customers and consumers.
Packaging at KFC changing
Food service is such a great place to find ideas. KFC have announced they will be introducing a home compostable bucket. It is interesting to think about home compostable as opposed to just recyclable. More onus on the consumer but probably better in the end, as we do not need to pick it up and invest more resources to recycle or compost it.
You need to be thinking about packaging as it is on the mind of consumers and customers.