Monday, August 16, 2010

Alerting customers about a new product, part II

I thought I would write another blog entry and continue suggesting ideas for ways to alert consumers about new products. Customers will need your ideas on how the product can be used. By developing a recipe that uses the featured product and place it near or attaching it to the package of the featured product, you may provide consumers with some inspiration. If you use newsletters to reach customers, be certain to include the recipe(s) to encourage repeat purchases. We talk a good deal about value-added processed products in this blog, but many of our readers may not have interest or facilities available to process raw items. Consider instead something that can be referred to as "value-added light." Select a recipe that lists the featured product as an ingredient along with a few other products you offer. Assemble the ingredients in quantities appropriate for the recipe, package together, and showcase it in a prominent place in your outlet.

Along with placing the recipe on the package, include a shopping list with items or ingredients that are needed for the meal but that you don't stock or sell. This way your haven't taken away all the work for consumers, compared to a completely processed product, but you have taken away the guess work as to what he/she will need to complete their meal. For example, do you produce or sell most if not all of the ingredients needed to make salsa? Can you assemble the ingredients you sell (tomatoes, black garlic, peppers, etc.) together and promote it with a recipe? Most likely there are several recipes you could use as the basis of "value-added light" products, again, even if you don't sell all the ingredients - just be sure to include the shopping list for the other items needed to complete the recipe.

Perhaps you have the space and labor available to provide consumers with a sample, either the item alone or in a recipe. Samples reduce customer risk. Why not allow them to try the item before they buy it? This helps reduce buyers’ remorse and may increase customer satisfaction with your retail outlet. Though "unmanaged" sampling, where the product is placed on tables alone and the consumer serves themselves is an easy option, think about the power of having an employee handout samples, recipes, guide the consumer to the shelf where the product is stocked, and provide additional information on how to use the featured product. You may see sales increase significantly.

Whatever strategy you choose, be sure to evaluate your return on investment (both monetarily and labor wise). Did placing more signs throughout the retail outlet that highlighted uses and benefits pertaining to the product increase sales? Did developing and publishing recipes or creating "value-added light" packages have a positive impact? Related questions could be developed for sampling and other promotions. Keep in mind that strategies that work for one product may not work for another and that more energy may need to be expended to encourage sales of more "unique" items compared to items that consumers can quickly identify a use for.

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