market research

Know Your Where & Why: The Value of CAT Surveys

Knowing where you draw your business from is a good idea; knowing how you’re performing in your trade area is even better. A Customer Address and Transaction (CAT) survey accomplishes both, giving you a valuable snapshot to inform marketing focus. It’s a straightforward analysis worth returning to time and time again. “The CAT survey is particularly useful for generating more sales without spending a [...]

Assessing Emerging Expansion Opportunities

As co-op leaders recognize that reinvestment in their business is critical to long-term sustainability, they need some tools to help them assess whether any particular reinvestment makes sense. When business expansion is on the list of possibilities, the risks are higher and so the assessment needs to be more rigorous. Leaders must certainly undertake adequate due diligence before finalizing an expansion project, but how [...]

Using Marketing to Build Success: Making Cooperative Ownership and Governance Real

By Rebecca Torpie, Thane Joyal 196 May-June 2018  What does it mean to be an owner of a consumer cooperative? At the most fundamental level, cooperative ownership means that we are in business together. And for the owners of a cooperative that is under substantial market pressure (and what business isn’t?), everything the business does needs to match the needs and aspirations of the community that [...]

Telling the Board Story Through the Co-op Marketing Department

By Rebecca Torpie 190 May-June 2017 Co-op boards and marketing teams can be like two ships passing in the night. Chances are they’ve crossed paths during election season and annual meeting planning, but contact beyond that can be very limited. At many co-ops, neither the board nor the marketing team truly understands the other’s role or perspective, and this can lead to misunderstandings, haphazard planning [...]

Are You Ready to Compete? A crowded marketplace is the new reality

By Mel Braverman, Nicole Klimek, Jeanie Wells 184 May-June 2016 In the back of our minds we knew that [insert name of competitor here] was coming. It was only a matter of time before grocery chains would notice our happy piece of the natural foods pie. Co-ops are feeling squeezed, and it hurts. Increased competition may limit our profitability but may also limit our [...]

Beefing Up Your Marketing Plan: Making sure yours is still relevant

By Nicole Klimek, Joy Rust 184 May-June 2016 As competition creeps up to #1 on the “food co-op worry list,” many co-ops find themselves wondering how they can combat declining sales while not investing an arm and a leg in store labor and operations. Taking a look at the changing marketplace, we notice that many of the major players in the natural foods industry [...]

Analyzing Your Store’s Systems

By Mary Myers, Walden Swanson 042 September - October - 1992 This is the third in a series of articles based on Business Planning For Cooperatives, a manual published by Cooperative Development Services that provides step by step Instructions for writing business plans. This manual is based on the principles of systems analysis, which recommend an analysis of each of a retail co-op's key [...]

Getting Started with Expansion Planning

By Bill Gessner 180 Sept-Oct 2015 Expansion projects for food co-ops fall somewhere between a labyrinth and a maze. With continuous improvement and development of best practices, expansion projects are moving closer to the one path of a labyrinth and further away from the messiness of a maze. We invite you to step into the expansion labyrinth. You will learn to navigate it through [...]

The Right Fit: Facility Considerations for your Co-op

By Debbie Suassuna 156 September - October - 2011 There are a number of characteristics that can add to or detract from a natural food co-op store’s opportunity for success. We’ve covered location and site characteristics to be considered in planning a natural foods co-op store. This article discusses facility characteristics: size and shape of the facility, its layout on the site, and the [...]