We spoke to Steve Whitwam, commercial director at Harvest Fine Foods, to discuss how wholesalers can increase sales during festive periods.
What actions and steps do you take to capitalise on profitable periods throughout the year? Can you name examples?
When it comes to capitalising on profitable parts of the year such as Easter or Mothers Day, it is absolutely critical to plan. For instance, even during the pandemic, we still started our Christmas planning for 2021 in January. We build our timelines and allocate workloads to different departments, from procurement and commercial to marketing. Our Christmas brochure arrives from the printers by the end of July and will be in our customers hands over August.
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How important is your work with suppliers during these periods? Do they advise and lead on how you should operate during specific periods?
We try to forecast for uplifts in volume where we can, but this year has proven difficult due to the changing patterns of eating habits during Covid. We are working with suppliers to understand new products and trends that will fit into the seasonal cycle and build marketing plans with them to drive new products into the market.
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Can you names specific examples of methods you’ve tried that have had a positive effect on your business for certain months?
In recent months the most successful focus areas have been new product drives around vegan dining. We have worked with suppliers to launch new products with sales focus days in Telesales and at the same time linking into social media, email marketing and print marketing in our monthly promotions brochure. We have had similar success with soft drinks following the same pattern. We always see the best success when a supplier is willing to invest in the product launch and work with us to achieve growth.