Tony Gonzales (Shamrock Foods), guest host along with DSR Dave discuss with DSR of the Month, Matt Palmieri how he handles temporary and long term out of stocks due to Covid-19 with his customers.
What’s your biggest daily hurdle at this time?
Matt: Out of stocks or disappearing products. Communicating with the customer as soon as possible is the best way to handle it. I had a customer who stopped asking what was out of stock and began asking what was IN stock. He completely changed his business model around to be able to pivot at a moment’s notice with his menu. He began using a chalk board versus menus and put daily features on Facebook. He has been very successful by being flexible and adapting.
I began talking about good deals I had with in stock products or clearance items with other customers and although they maybe were not as flexible as he was, I gave them a couple options of products that could work, and asked if they could make it or did we need to figure something else out. Relationships have been built stronger through this pandemic.
How did you get customers to participate in your first Virtual Food Show?
Matt: It was weeks of prep. Three-day show. Put together a game plan with customers I had that I didn’t own the business. I discussed incentives, dollars off, dollars back, and leading up to the show I made appointments with all those customers. I went through items they were not buying from me, and asked if it made sense to buy them from me with the dollars off at the show and move that business to us… and we may find items I’m priced better on and save them in the long run.
Every single one of those seven customers were ready for their appointment. I made a quote for each of them. I went back the same time the next week for the food show, logged them in and did the work for them.
Thirty customers attended the show, which is infinitely better than a one-day show, with customers who booked a lot of cases. Mock booths were set up so they could click on with manufacturer reps “sitting” in the booths, and seminars live or prerecorded so they could watch anytime. It was like being at the show without eating the food. They could book samples on the website with brokers and manufacturers following up on requests.
I believe it was a more successful show for me than the traditional show. It was 24/7 and the customers could come and go as they needed for three days with me receiving text notifications. The show just ended yesterday, with the tracking period beginning in two weeks, there is a lot of work to get done. We were pleased with the turnout.
How were brokers involved?
Matt: They were on computers for live chat. The brokers let me know of folks that had visited the booth and looked at items, so the brokers were going to send them some samples.