According to Andrew Lupton, co-owner of value-added meats manufacturer Nonna’s Gourmet Sausages and Deli, under-performing on your deliveries is a sure fire way to anger your customers and ultimately do yourself out of sales.
“There's nothing retail shelves hate more than a vacuum and that vacuum is filled immediately, so if your products are not there, it doesn't take long for that space to be filled with somebody else's product,” he explains.
“[As a supplier,] you have to be able to fill the guy's shelf. That's the most important thing. His livelihood is at stake. If he's got an empty shelf, it looks terrible. It looks unprofessional. He's not making any money.
“That's when they get pissed off, so you have to deliver on time and make sure his shelves are filled up. It's as simple as that.”
To really keep your retailer customers happy, though, Andrew says you should add value by helping them to get the product mix right.
“Making it look nice is part of it, and making sure that they've got the right mix of product is very important, too. So maybe they're missing a complete category that they hadn't thought of before, he says, adding that this is why regular customer visits are so important,” he says.
“Sometimes it means deleting a line that's just not going well for his store, like I don't know, maybe the pork's not going too well ... Not many people eat pork there, so you can get rid of that line and put something in that sells.
“Our interests and their interests are the same. We want to sell, they want to sell, and so you just need to be ruthless sometimes and get rid of rubbish that doesn't sell.”
Check out more insights from Andrew on issues such as managing customer and supplier relations, cash flow in a high-turnover market and how he grew revenue 80 per cent in a single year on the My Business Podcast!