Your job is only done when the consumer puts your product in the shopping cart - SKUFood
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Your job is only done when the consumer puts your product in the shopping cart

If you are familiar with what we do at SKUFood, you know we use the shopping cart in a lot of our messaging. We appreciate you have so many things to do, but if your product does not make it into the shopping cart, all of that other work will not be rewarded.

We feel so strongly about it, we even have a picture of me in a shopping cart. When we were taking photos that day, the idea was not to sit in the cart. We were using it as a prop, but by the end we were getting a bit tired and decided maybe I should just sit in the cart. It worked! People remember that photo and often comment on it. The only people who do not seem to like the photo of me in the shopping cart are my children. Apparently, when your friends are googling your parents and they show up online, sitting in a shopping cart it isn’t cool. Who knew? I tell them I am just trying to earn a living.

For us the shopping cart is the symbol of success. When consumers make the decision to pick up your product and put it in their shopping cart, you should feel a great accomplishment. There are approximately 35,000 SKUS in the average conventional store. You have influenced their behavior and given them a reason to buy. This is not easy!

A great product might get you to the shelf

The reality is there are so many great products. Many food and beverage people believe customers and consumers will beat a path to their door if you have a great product. Unfortunately, this is not true. Stores and warehouses are full of them now.

You do need to get in front of retailers and show them the benefits of your products to their business and consumers. If you are persistent and get your chance, you can earn a space on the shelf. This is a significant accomplishment that you should celebrate in your business. Many products, some of them great products, do not make it this far.

Now the hard work starts.

We are not saying product development, production or processing are easy. We are saying for many food and beverage people, there is more interest and excitement in developing something and figuring out how to produce it, than there is in the selling of it.

You need to know your people

If you want your product to get into the shopping cart you need to understand who your target market is. There are many segments of the market and you need to focus on the people who are most likely to buy. This starts with creating demand. There are several options such as social media, mass media and public relations to educate them about your product and how it can benefit them. You will need to repeat these messages over and over to get their attention. There is a lot of noise out there and you will need to break through it and resonate with them.

Consumers need a reason to pick up your product

When you understand your target market and communicate with them, your next step is to deliver a message that resonates. Focus on the benefits of your product, to these people. Figure out the problem you are solving and be relentless about it.

It is too easy to just talk about the features. This is really not that effective. Many brands, even big brands, do this but that does not make it right. Push past the features and get to the benefits. This is not easy work!

There are also a lot of just ok products that have a significant amount of sales and marketing driving their sales. This is a challenge for smaller or regional brands. The large companies can invest a lot into discounting, over and above merchandising and other tactics to influence consumers. This is a reality and if your budget is smaller, you will need to work hard to resonate.

For some consumers, price will be the reason they pick up the product. If you do not have the budget to compete, you will have to give them other more compelling reasons.

Retail is detail

When I worked at Loblaw one of the seasoned store operations people used to say “retail is detail”. He had been a store operations person for a long time. He had started as a young person in stores and was from an Italian family. He was relentless about store conditions and all of the small things that needed to happen to give consumers a great shopping experience and make the numbers.

I was working in marketing and advertising then and one of our jobs was to order, produce and hang all of the store signage. If you think about an 80,000 sq ft store, that is a big job. There are a lot of signs in those stores. Prior to an opening we would walk the store. He did not need the list or the drawings. He knew it so well if there was one small sign missing, he would point it out. He always called me by my last name. “Chapman, the ‘ask us’ sign is missing from deli, how many times do I have to tell you; retail is detail”. He was right.

For you to get your product in the shopping cart you need to be as good as he was at all the details. This includes being in stock, getting programs executed and standing out on the shelf.


SKUFood Recipes for Success Podcast

We are super excited to announce we have launched our SKUFood Recipes for Success podcast. We have been working on this project for a while and it is finally ready to share with all of you. Our intention is to share the stories of food businesses and others in the value chain while also providing insights that are interesting and helpful to people in the food and beverage industry.

In this episode, we're privileged to sit down with Eric, a seasoned leader with four decades of experience in the food and beverage industry.

With thirty-three years on the retail side, Eric has honed his skills in distribution center operations, health and safety, process improvement, and more. His diverse expertise spans from quality assurance to procurement, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the table.

But Eric's journey doesn't stop there. For seven years, he's lent his talents to the supplier side, excelling in sales and marketing roles. His contributions extend beyond individual companies, as he's actively involved in industry organizations like the CPMA and CFIA advisory board, where he's made a lasting impact.

Currently the Director of Sales and Business Development at Algoma Orchards, Canada's largest independent apple grower, Eric continues to shape the future of the produce industry.

Join us as Eric shares his insights, lessons learned, and the secrets to cultivating success in this ever-evolving field. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, this episode is sure to leave you with a recipe for success.

Listen and subscribe where ever you get your podcasts.

Where is Peter Speaking?

The saga continues with grocery code of conduct 

We have all been watching as the work was done, then Ottawa pointed the finger at major retailers for high food prices. Now the food retailers have responded. 

Who knows where it will go? Either Loblaw and Walmart will sign on or it looks like the federal government will legislate this. That would be unfortunate but perhaps the only outcome. 

Stay tuned.

FCC Food and beverage report

This week FCC released the food and beverage report. This information is valuable because it is Canadian data and allows you to compare to the broader category and the industry. We would encourage you to look at your results and determine if you are out performing the segment of the market where you compete.