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BBC Report: food supply companies at risk of collapse


written by Ollie Roddy

sales-i 29081 2015-01-20 1440960

Late last week, the BBC reported that more than 100 major food suppliers could be forced out of business as supermarkets cut prices in an effort to keep customers.

Economically, the UK is in a strange place at the moment: while we’ve recently been in a state of recovery, particularly highlighted by the falling prices of food and oil, problems could soon resurface for retailers if people adopt the dangerous mentality of waiting to buy tomorrow or next week because it will be cheaper than today. If this mentality were to take hold, it could see the retailers struggle for short-term cash flow, having to drop prices more to try and tempt people into stores.

Late last week, the BBC reported that more than 100 major food suppliers could be forced out of business as supermarkets cut prices in an effort to keep customers.

Economically, the UK is in a strange place at the moment: while we’ve recently been in a state of recovery, particularly highlighted by the falling prices of food and oil, problems could soon resurface for retailers if people adopt the dangerous mentality of waiting to buy tomorrow or next week because it will be cheaper than today. If this mentality were to take hold, it could see the retailers struggle for short-term cash flow, having to drop prices more to try and tempt people into stores.

Interestingly for retailers, this situation not only gives them an opportunity to pinch customers from other stores with new pricing strategies, but also puts the country on thin ice economically in the sense that 3.6 million people are employed in the food supply chain here in the UK; if a large amount of people in the industry lose their jobs, the country could suffer immensely and, as a result, so too could supermarkets’ sales figures as people make cuts.

Data or die

It will no doubt be the smallest manufacturers who are hit hardest by this news. For you, it will now be more important than ever to make use of the customer and financial data that you’ve been storing (but not necessarily utilizing) for years. This data can be used to give you a great understanding of your situation on a customer-by-customer basis, in turn giving you the best possible chance of survival.

The Big Data manipulation techniques that Business Intelligence (BI) software offers will help you to utilize your data, allowing you to understand your marketplace and customer base like never before.

No need to call the plumber

Imagine for a moment that your key accounts are spending less and less every month, but you don’t know exactly which product lines you’re leaking sales from or why.

With a sales-i in place, the relevant salesperson will receive an alert whenever an account’s spend is down from the previous month. That salesperson can then go into the system and work out exactly which products the customer has ordered less of, empowering them to work out why.

Maybe it’s clear that a competitor is running a new offer that’s directly linked to leaks in one of your product lines, or maybe a newer type of the product has been released that has rendered the old one out of date. With sales-i in place, it’s easy to stop the leaks before you lose your customers.

The power to read minds

This added insight into your market also gives your team a much greater understanding of exactly who your customers are and of the current trends throughout the marketplace.

With your financial and customer data, sales-i will know exactly which products your customers buy every month, and, as a result, can send your sales team alerts to tell them when they’re missing a cross or up-sell opportunity, for example when a customer buys coffee every month, but not tea or milk.

Knowing your customers inside out means your team will know what a customer wants or needs to buy before they’ve even thought about it, giving them the ability to boost sales and show them that you care in the process.

In a situation as precarious as this, a small investment in a Business Intelligence system could be the difference between surviving and not for the many manufacturers who will now be on high alert. Watch our quick video to see how it works.

Read the original BBC article here.

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I’m a marketing professional who loves all things creative. If I'm not at work, I'm probably watching football, listening to music, enjoying a cold beer, or a combination of the three.

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