If the Friday after Thanksgiving is “black Friday” for most retailers, then the Monday before Thanksgiving must be “black Monday” for food retailers. Having just extricated myself from several markets whose crowds probably exceeded the buildings’ fire code, I realized that people who are in a hurry to get their Thanksgiving shopping done, are not in the mood to be marketed to.
The decision criteria for Thanksgiving dinner ingredients was established long ago. No shelf hangers, in-store circulars, floor graphics or register coupons seemed to be noticed by harried shoppers trying to get done–and get out.
Do you have a similar situation with your products? Have your customers decided what they’ll buy long before they enter a store or go online?
Here are my thoughts on what a business must do to overcome this crisis reaction to choosing brands:
1. Be convenient.
If you’re a cook making Thanksgiving dinner, every cut-corner can save some time and oven space. The cook may try to make everything from scratch one year, then looks for the brown-n-serve rolls that taste and smell like homemade the following year. What can you do to make your product more convenient?
2. Build brand-name recognition early.
The in-laws are coming, Aunt Clare will be critiquing the entire meal and everyone expects a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. No cook is going to gamble on a cheaper brand or a different product than her grandmother and mother used unless she’s successfully used it before. Don’t count on coupons or sales to sway a shopper when she’s in the throes of holiday panic. Market early and before the season.
3. Make sure you are available.
It’s really difficult to control out-of-stock situations and be in distribution at all stores, so your sales team needs to analyze past sales and shortages long before the sale is anticipated. I went into my first food store to buy porcini mushrooms. The store was sold out, so I went to a second market to buy the items that were sold out in the first. Again, this larger store was sold out, so I bought more crimini mushrooms and went home. How much money do you leave on the table because your product wasn’t on the shelf?
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving–and remember to compliment the person who made, bought, planned, substituted and drove all over town for your dinner!