To maximize sales – adapt to the changing retail environment
Maximizing sales is achieved when you respond to changes in the retail environment. Consumers and customers are always changing, and you need to resonate with them. Change is not linear, and the pace of change can also fluctuate.
Consumer behaviour has changed considerably in recent months, and many trends impact how people shop in stores. A market focused on price and value has shifted to consumers wanting to shop safely and get in and out of stores as quickly as possible. They’re not shopping categories like they used to, and many of the public health regulations are forcing consumers to follow a specific path in the store. When your item is on their shopping list created at home, it’s much more likely to end up in their cart.
With many more people working at home, and foodservice sales down considerably, consumers’ eating habits have changed – and this has had a significant impact on sales in many categories. Consumers want information about how to cook more and bring variety into the meals they prepare.
As consumer priorities change, there are opportunities to resonate, with different attributes being more important. There is more focus on product origin. Local and Canadian products mean more to consumers than they did previously. Consumers have more respect for employees working to produce food, so they want to know more about them. The story of food products is more interesting to people.
Retailer’s priorities are also changing. Product cost will always be a factor, but some attributes such as service level are more important than they were. Talking to customers and asking where they’re focused will help you understand what’s important to them.
Generating sales is dependent on having the right inventory in the right place at the right time. This requires a considerable focus on some of the basic functions of producing food and beverage. A key priority is to deliver the product that is ordered. Retailers focus on service level with their position being that inventory is critical to maximizing sales.
Producing great products is important, but it doesn't end there.
Delivering cases ordered is the priority. However, it must be the right cases in the right condition. Deliver the product within spec to ensure there are no rejections. Code dates are also something that should be checked diligently. Retailers and consumers check these dates, and sales are maximized when there’s sufficient time to sell through and be used at home.
Success in the food and beverage industry is a challenge, and many factors require great execution. Producing great products is important, but it doesn't end there. Sales will only be maximized when processors respond to changes in priorities for their customers and consumers.
Article by: Peter Chapman
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