It has been just over a year since Brian Fernandez posted about French’s ketchup on Facebook, leading to a huge social storm about the decision of ketchup giant Heinz to pull out of small-town Ontario and move manufacturing to the U.S. With only a few words, Fernandez was able to blast a hole in the customer loyalty long enjoyed by Heinz.
As a result of the social attention the community-conscious company received, French’s ketchup sales jumped by $20 million in 2016, with their share of the market going from 3% of overall ketchup sales to 18%. Now if that isn’t a display of the power of customer loyalty, we don’t know what is!
So what has happened since? Since that time, French’s has made significant moves to draw on this loyalty. Earlier this year it announced that all of its ketchup would henceforth be manufactured in Canada, at its North York plant.
This display of Canadian solidarity and pride has clearly been a good plan.
While Heinz still reigns supreme in the ketchup world, it is clear that loyalty can shift quickly if given the right boost. Once earned, loyalty isn’t necessarily lasting.
What can we take from this? In CPG, customer loyalty is a hard thing to master. It, like anything else worth having, takes work.
So, while you can’t really manufacture a viral social storm as Fernandez (unknowingly) did, there are a few things you can do.
- Ramp up the customer service. Customers still want great service. Making sure they’re getting it is a good way to keep them happy.
- Keep an eye on your competitors. Customers still want to get their favourite products at a low price, but if the price is right, they may just switch. Regular competitive analysis can help to ensure you’re competing.
- Engage with your community. With the power inherent in social media, it only makes sense to draw on that and engage with your followers. Give back by providing them with value along the way, and make sure that those who’ve had a less than positive experience hear from you. Show your customers that you are listening and care about what they have to say.
If you’re looking for ways to boost your customer loyalty, Storesupport can help. We’ve got both the in-store and online resources to ensure your customers are happy with your brand and sticking with you. Call us today to find out more: 1-877-421-5081.