How did it get to be the fourth quarter?? The year seems to have really gone by quickly. A strange year here in Nova Scotia with wildfires and floods keeping us out of our house and knee deep in water. Regardless it is now the time of year when many products will do a disproportionate number of sales. Your customers the retailers certainly will do more in the 4th quarter of the year.
Consumers are focused on food inflation, but we know they will have family gatherings, parties and other events where their buying patterns will change. Suppliers and retailers need to be ready for these busy weeks. Even if your product is not a seasonal item, you need to do your part to be ready. We see 4 key elements to maximizing the opportunity in the 4th quarter:
1. Goals and objectives
2. Communicating with customers
3. Execution instore and online
4. Follow up
What you need to accomplish
This is a great time of year to build on the relationships you have with customers. Yes, they are busy and not they will not talk about price changes. They do want to see the sales come in. Consider building some goals in the areas of sales, service level, consumer relationships and customer relationships.
We have listed some parameters to help you get started in the following tables. If you see different objectives for your business customize them. We really want to get you thinking about it and they need to be right for your business.
Communicate with your customers in advance
Retailers have a short window to execute in the 4th quarter. Remember, each retailer has their own strategy. The only way you will be able to measure success is to be on the same page for these parameters. If you think 230 cases is a win and your customer is expecting 500 someone will not be happy.
It needs to be right at the point of purchase
Execution is key this time of year. You would always hear me say it is important to be in the stores and even more emphasis on this in the 4th quarter. You need to know what is happening and if there are issues get ahead of them.
Follow up can make the difference
Communication with customers is very important and remember to focus on their priorities. They are trying to drive traffic, deliver great execution which should result in sales and profits. Keep your communication short and concise as they are busy. Don’t always expect an answer but if what you share delivers value, they will read it. It all adds up to build a better relationship. This is very valuable to suppliers in regions where your customers are not. Let them know what is happening.
We have put these tables in a document you can download and use in your business. As we said earlier customize it and make it your own. We hope the 4th quarter delivers the sales you need and helps you continue to build a better relationship with your customers.
If you have any questions about maximizing the opportunity in the 4th quarter, you can always send me an email email@example.com or call me at (902) 489-2900.
Large retailers respond to government demands
It will be very interesting to see what the response will be from major retailers with regards to the expectations being created. I am not sure how they will afford to reduce prices and reduce inflation without changes in the value chain.
Perhaps they will change the labelling but keep their investment the same. In other words, weekly flyer investments might be reduced to allow them to drop a few key commodities. Stay tuned and when we see it we will do our best to interpret it for you. Right now the politicians are taking credit for something that has not happened yet.
If you are a food or beverage processor in Atlantic Canada you should really consider attending the FBA annual conference and awards. The agenda has been built around themes processors told us they want to learn more about. I would expect you will have the chance to talk to retailers who operate in Atlantic Canada which is always valuable. You do have to work in your business but you also have to work on your business. Look forward to seeing you there. If you have any questions let me know.
Where is Peter Speaking?
We have been working hard to put together a new video to promote the work we do speaking at conferences and events. Hope you enjoy the video!