One of the most interesting aspects of working in the food co-op sector is getting good information about consumer attitudes and behavior, and seeing trade area data. When I worked as a food co-op member services and marketing director, it helped immensely to know those big and small details—what percent of people bought prepared foods or traveled by bike to the co-op—and how many households were already shopping within a two-mile radius of the store. That information was imperative to thinking about our customers’ needs, or potential ones. It helped the co-op determine where we’d spend our precious marketing and outreach resources, and clarify the reasons we were doing so.
Eric Stromberg, general manager of Davis Food Co-op, said that the number-one reason he does regular research is to gain confidence. A lot of us know our customers pretty well; it’s one of the benefits of the cooperative system because transparency allows for a lot of give and take. However, in most business situations it’s erroneous to make assumptions. Getting factual information can help you streamline your decision-making process and strengthen your efforts at reaching out.
The CDS Consulting Co-op group is committed to helping food cooperators get the information they need to not only build sales, but demonstrate to the community that the co-op is truly looking out for their best interest as a consumer.
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