Chains are trying to catch up to consumers on two-way dialogue. The technology impact is clear in the consumer’s growing use of the Internet. As retailers and foodservice operators strive to catch up with the consumer and begin to take steps to use technology to promote their products to consumers, they are creating an entirely new communications network.
The important characteristic of this is that the information on the network flows two ways — promotions go out to the consumer, and the consumer can express her/his needs, evaluation and frustrations back.
At first blush, this may not sound like something that’s of potential value or even interest to a grower or shipper, but read a little more before you make that decision.
Ask yourself three questions to find out where there’s potential value in all this for you.
1. Do you know which consumers are the “heavy users” of your product? Chances are that they represent less than 20% of all the households that are buying your product, but account for more than 80% of the sales, and probably closer to 10% of your customers are buying 90% of your products.
2. Do you have a good understanding of what the “heavy using” households are looking for from your product and what has been their experience with it? This will be important since it’s these shoppers who are the ones most likely to buy more of your product and who best understand what, beyond price, would encourage them to do that.
3. How much more effective would your marketing and promotion dollars be if they were focused on consumers who are in the “bull’s-eye” of your target market? Reducing the waste in distribution alone would boost efficiency, and, beyond that, there’s an opportunity to build relationships and convert some into raving fans of your products.
Bill Bishop is chief architect, Brick Meets Click, Chicago, and a founding panelists with Food Foresight, a trends analysis process of the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research and Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc.
Kerry Tucker is chief executive officer of Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, a San Diego-based strategic planning and public relations firm.
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