Who do you trust?
In your business you have many business relationships. You interact and the transactions happen. Either you buy something or you sell something. Think about the relationships where there is something different. You cannot always identify it but there is something better. Often that is trust.
Where you know if the person you are buying from has an issue with the order and they call in advance to figure out solutions. Where they call in advance of a price increase and ask if you want to increase your order prior to the increase.
The relationships where you have built up trust between the two people are different. It takes time and it takes proof you will do what you say you will do. I was on a call yesterday and someone was talking about how important it is for suppliers to live up to their word. Their comment was, “there is a whole waiting room full of suppliers who will, so you better too”. That is how you build trust with retailers.
You also need to build trust with consumers. That means your product performs. You can also build trust when the product doesn’t perform and that is through how you react and deal with a negative situation. When you are proactive and really try to understand the issue and deal with it you will build trust. With social media you can actually build trust with a lot of consumers when people share the positives.
In our C.A.R.T. process T stands for Trust. My experience has been when you can build trust between suppliers, retailers and consumers that is when the magic happens. The Trust column includes the question; Who do you trust?
Work on the triangle of trust
Consider what you can be doing 52 weeks of the year to build trust between:
- Suppliers : Retailers
- Suppliers : Consumers
- Retailers : Consumers
We call this the triangle of trust.
You have a direct relationship with retailers and consumers. Consider the different opportunities you have to build trust:
- Service level
- Product quality
- Proactive response to issues
- Participating in retailer programs like themes and loyalty
- Working to keep cost as low as you can but still run your business
- Be responsive to consumers
- Exceed product quality expectations
- Communicate regularly
You can add to the list because building trust is an individual thing.
Trust between retailers and consumers
You might be thinking this is all fine and you are or will work on the trust between you and retailers and the trust between you and consumers but the third leg of the triangle does not involve you. Not true…here are some examples.
When you deliver and build trust with retailers your product will get the opportunities and consumers will find it in themes, on end caps and visible during the best times for selling. Consumers will buy it and it will become part of their favourite meal or a family celebration. That is when the trust will build between retailers and consumers and you really win.
If there is an issue with your product and you follow up properly. Deal with the consumer and then follow up with the retailer to ensure they know the results. Retailers and consumers will both trust you more but just as important the consumer will build trust with the retailer.
Think about the work you might have done in the last year through the pandemic to get product produced. Perhaps you coordinated special deliveries for your customers so they would have the stock when they needed it. Consumers were choosing their store based on which retailer had inventory. If you were one of the suppliers who made it happen you helped build the trust between consumers and retailers.
Who do you trust?
Consider all of the relationships and where you need to focus your efforts. The correct answer is all of them but some need more help than others. Often the ones that need the help are the most painful. I understand that and not every category manager is a dream to work with. That is reality and you need to assess the level of trust and build it where there are gaps.
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.
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“Success in this industry is not just about making a great product to sell; it is about selling the great products you make”
Hopefully you have heard me say that before and that it resonated with you in your business. Often there are issues you need to be aware of and figure out how to respond in your business. Consider the food industry in the UK trying to deal with a pandemic and the big loss of trade in many sectors. Even great products will be living through big challenges to generate sales and keep employees working. Running a food and beverage business is a challenge and you have to keep an eye on many things, not just making great products to sell.
Event themes will change as the world changes
It is interesting to watch the differences in countries as the world moves through the pandemic. If you watch any news or events from the U.S. it appears the pandemic is history. Huge crowds, inside and outside and the only people wearing masks seem to be the people working.
In Canada provinces are working through their plans to ‘re-open’ but in most cases a more cautious approach.
One benefit of watching the U.S. is to learn how business will ‘re-open’ and thrive in the post pandemic era. I think we all hope the vaccine roll out will enable the country to get back to what we know but it will be different. This virtual event sponsored by Forbes will provide some insight into how business will be working and might offer some clues you can implement in your food business.
We can all learn from bigger businesses
When big business takes action, it is interesting to watch and learn from where they make investments. They do not have an endless supply of money and they should be making wise choices where they invest.
Two large European companies; Adidas and Chanel recently invested in sustainable agriculture. This is interesting because they see benefits to this and also expect a return. They see this as the future and it will also impact their business in the clothing and fashion industries. The focus on sustainability and the future of the planet is in almost every sector. In food and beverage we have an opportunity to be the leaders.