Adapt your thinking to different channels
When you have a great definition of your online consumer you can begin to understand why and how they behave. Online is a huge opportunity and it is also very complex. We can get excited about the relatively low cost of promoting online, but it is only effective when your investments get in front of the right people and that your message resonates with them.
Posts and paid ads that resonate are invaluable. Your online consumer can make the decision to buy right there. When your message resonates, they can click through to buy in seconds. If your message does not resonate with them, they will be on to the next thing and your opportunity will be lost.
Just the same as selling in bricks and mortar, success is not just about making great products to sell, it is about selling the great products you make. To help you do this we have designed a new SKUFood C.A.R.T. process specifically for e-commerce. We have been learning a lot about this channel and invested the time to develop our proven process for this channel.
You can maximize the opportunity when you put the resources and effort into selling your products in a different channel. In the first segment of our C.A.R.T. process for e-commerce we ask the question ‘Why do consumers buy?’
Why they buy online is different than why they buy in store.
Posting and promoting online can be great, but there are almost too many opportunities. Sometimes too much is more challenging than not enough. You have to consider why they buy to create effective communication with your consumers. Your strategy for selling online needs to be specific for this channel.
When consumers shop in a store they are influenced by:
Merchandising-great displays or themed merchandising can impact consumer’s decision to buy.
Price-We know we have trained people to look for ‘deals’ so any discount can influence the purchase decision. A spot in the flyer might have caught their eye, in store specials, multi buys, roll backs or whatever slogan the retailer uses might influence the purchase decision.
Quality-In perishable departments the quality of products can have a big impact. Many produce items are impulse purchases. People might not have strawberries on their list but if they look great and the value is there in the retail, they will end up in the shopping cart.
Customer service-It does not happen as often as we would like, but it is very effective when it does happen. A recommendation from a knowledgeable staff member can sell product.
In store demos-Unfortunately this has not been part of the mix since the pandemic but when they are possible demos can certainly help sell your products.
Signage-One popular saying I remember from my time at Loblaw was “signage sells” and it is true. When a consumer sees a sign on your product, it will stand out in the category and often they associate it with value or some other offer.
Loyalty program- We know many people are influenced by Air Miles, PC Optimum, Metro et moi or any other loyalty program.
As you think about these influences on the consumer’s decision to buy, not many of them are a reality when you are selling online. Why they buy online can be very different. Even the same consumer will shop differently in each channel.
Consider the reasons people buy online:
Selection-Online consumers like to check out the options. You might consider adding some more unique or interesting SKUS. These probably would not be realistic in the retail environment where inventory turns in many stores are important.
Video-You have the opportunity to use video effectively to inspire consumers on how to use your products. You can take them right from a recipe video to the point of purchase.
Influencers-Working with these people who have an online community that is aligned with your consumers can be very effective to drive awareness and sales.
Price-Online shopping has a different definition of price. You need to consider delivery in this equation. Consumers will calculate the delivered price and determine if they will buy based on the perceived value. Yes, they are likely willing to pay a premium for the convenience of having the item delivered, but not likely what you have to pay to get it there. An online special does influence purchases as well.
Reviews-Online shoppers are influenced much more by product reviews. Often these opinions (from people they do not know) are right beside your item and online shoppers do read them.
Convenience-People shop online from anywhere. They could be sitting at their child’s soccer game and make the decision to buy.
Paid posts-You have the opportunity to reach new people with paid posts. These can be consumers you would not reach in stores. You also have the ability to target specific geography, attributes or segments of the population.
Relationships-If you have an email list or other online community you have the opportunity to develop relationships with consumers. This can be very important to your online sales strategy. You know who these people are and you can develop relationships with them over time. This can lead to repeat purchases and direct communication between you and these consumers.
Why they buy online should be part of your plan
Selling online is a great opportunity but you need to resonate differently. Consider why they buy and integrate this into your online strategy.
If you have any questions or help figuring out how to get your product online or in the virtual 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. Hopefully you have heard me say this before and that it resonated with you in your business.
“Success in this industry is not just about making a great product to sell; it is about selling the great products you make”
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!
Plant based alternatives continue to be introduced
Segments of the market continue to evolve and we see more and more plant based alternatives being introduced. Canadian company Nabati Foods has applied for patents to protect their development of plant based egg alternatives. According to Food & Beverage Canada they will be available later this year.
It will be interesting to see if we find these next to eggs, in a plant based section or perhaps both spots.
Changes in Food Service
The US food service industry is outpacing the Canadian market and as a result Nestle has made the decisions to close their Canadian plant that was shipping 80% of their volume state side.
Is export right for you?
If you are in Atlantic Canada and a member of Food & Beverage Atlantic there is an opportunity to explore exporting to Europe. Food and Beverage Atlantic, in partnership with the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces is leading a project for food and beverage companies in Atlantic Canada to expand their reach into the European Market. There will be support for members who apply and qualify for the program.