NEW ORLEANS â Improving customer service through information management and communicating to consumers through social media remains critical for todayâs produce companies.
Running produce companies involve more than just selling to buyers. People throughout the supply chain are forming partnerships to improving efficiencies and lower supply chain expenses, panelists in sessions on supply chain technology innovation and consumer innovation technology discussed during a United Fresh global conference on produce technology innovation.
Ed Thompson (left), vice president of quality assurance for Avendra LLC, Rockville, Md., talks with Francis Adenuga, technical service vice president of True Leaf Farms LLC, San Juan Batista, Calif. A variety of industry authorities, including Thompson, addressed produce industry innovation during a May 5 United global conference in New Orleans.
Dan Vache, vice president of supply chain management of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, moderated a discussion on how produce companies can properly use the new technologies such as mobile devices.
âIt is not a core competency of the produce industry to worry about technology,â Ernesto Nardone, chief executive officer of N2N Global, Longwood, Fla., said at the May 5 seminar. âItâs an important enablement to make us successful. But we need to use technology to create solutions for our industry, not create headaches.â
In the new world of social media, experts advised produce marketers to not confuse marketing with selling to consumers.
Dan'l Mackey Almy, president of DMA Solutions Inc., Irving, Texas, said growers and marketers must understand how consumers behave and be willing to enter into different types of conversations with them.
âThis space is not about selling,â she said. âWeâre having two-way conversations with our consumers. Itâs no longer a one-way street. Just type strawberries into a search and can see the enormous amount of conversations going on. If weâre listening, engaging and connecting, we can be a part of that conversation, even if itâs a difficult one.â
Stacey Larson, chief executive officer and president of One Media Group, Sacramento, Calif., said the opportunity to market to consumers who use an estimated 223 million mobile devices has become âincredibly availableâ and will become imperative. She said it doesnât matter a consumerâs age, race or background but marketers should see how they can engage consumers through quick-response codes and coupons.
âWhen you consider mobile marketing, donât focus on the mobile-intensives, the ones that are constantly on it,â Larson said. âYou want to build your plan around the mobile-restrained, the ones who donât use their smartphones much but will get the most frustrated when they donât have a good handheld experience. The first step is identifying not just a segment of the population, but focusing on a wider and broader reach.â