3 key steps to getting your food or drink product listed in farm shops and delis
1. Plan carefully.
It is really easy to get over-enthusiastic and start approaching farm shops and delis before you are ready to sell. Here’s a quick check-list of the things you need to make sure you have in place to help you sell your food or drink product to the farm shop and deli managers:
- Costings – do you have an idea of your rrp (the price the shop will sell your product at) and does your cost price allow the shop to make 40% margin as well as you making a profit?
- Do you know how you will deliver your product – yourself? A courier?
- Is your labelling legal and does it have all the required information on it?
- Have you done shelf-life testing?
- Have you got outer case packaging sorted?
2. How to approach the buyer/shop manager.
- Decide on your approach – are you going to phone to get appointments? Are you going to call on the shops in person with samples on the off chance? (Relish Tip: always make the most of every appointment by doing research and seeing what other stores/sales opportunities might be nearby)
- Make sure you have a hand-out to leave them with all the info they will need to know – price, case size, minimum order quantity, lead time, delivery costs and not forgetting your contact details!
Be knowledgeable – not only about your product – but about competitor products and the wider category. Don’t forget the shop manager might have to make a decision whether to list your product or a competitors – there is only so much space on the shelves!
3. Supporting your listing.
- Once you’ve done the hard work of getting the listing – unfortunately it doesn’t stop there! Don’t forget to tell people where they can get your product (via social media, email lists, website etc).
- Also – offer support to the store – can you do samplings in store for example to help with sales – particularly a good idea at launch to encourage trial and at key seasonal times of the year such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Xmas etc
If you have any questions about this topic we would love to hear from you simply email [email protected] and we will do our best to help.
Don’t forget you can check out our FREE 30-day trial of the Relish Food Marketing Club where there are oodles more resources and mentoring from the Relish team to help you with your food or drink business.
How to sell more to your current customers
In the pursuit of new business, your current customers can often get overlooked.
Not only is it important to look after your current customers to ensure they remain loyal to you and that you support them so that their sales grow; don’t forget, that current customers can also be a source of additional income.
So, let’s take a little look at how you can ensure you are selling as much as possible to your current customers.
Keeping track of sales
Firstly, do you have a robust system in place that means you can track customer orders on a weekly basis and that will flag up instantly if a customer’s orders start to drop off. This is the time to immediately get on the phone to them and see what’s happening and how you can help. If it is early days in your business this robust system may just be a spreadsheet and ensuring that you devote the time to track orders by customer weekly.
Increase the range
Have you done a matrix of your customers and products? A simple one on a spreadsheet will quickly highlight the gaps i.e. which customers aren’t taking all your products. Then it’s a case of going through customer by customer and putting a case together of why they should take the products they are currently not taking. Think about getting testimonials from other customers similar to them that stock the products and that are selling well.
Also – you might want to do a flyer with a monthly feature/discount on a particular product or range, so that when you send the orders out to your customers you can pop this in with their order to incentivise them to look at new products/ranges.
Explore all channels
What about ensuring that you have explored all routes to market with all of your customers? For example, you may supply several farm shops, but have you considered whether you could supply any of your products to the cafes that many farm shops have? You could even encourage them to mention your product on their café blackboard and say it’s available to buy in the shop. Again – it’s worth going through customer by customer and highlighting all those that you can explore a different route to market.
Having a Customer Account Management Plan
Speaking to customers on a regular basis is something I am sure you all do and is so important in terms of building relationships.
Taking it one step further, I believe having a formalised Customer Account Management Plan can really help you increase your sales with current customers.
This is where you document how often you are going to call them and what you are going to call them about. Some examples that you could include are:
- Commit to calling them monthly in order to tell them about a top-selling or new product that they currently don’t list.
- Commit to introducing yourself to someone new in the business every x months e.g. Café Manager, Assistant Shop Manager …
- Commit to meeting the owners of the business every x months.
- Invite them to your premises on an annual basis
I hope this has given you some ideas to follow up on. If you would like any further help with managing your customers, please do get in touch at [email protected] or call Jo on 0772 335 1884.